New Study Claims Men Are Funnier Than Women

This is sure to be controversial, but a study by psychologists and anthropologists from the University of New Mexico finds that "Humor ability reveals intelligence, predicts mating success, and is higher in males." Here's the abstract:

A good sense of humor is sexually attractive, perhaps because it reveals intelligence, creativity, and other ‘good genes’ or ‘good parent’ traits. If so, intelligence should predict humor production ability, which in turn should predict mating success. In this study, 400 university students (200 men and 200 women) completed measures of abstract reasoning, verbal intelligence, humor production ability, and mating success. Structural equation models showed that general and verbal intelligence both predict humor production ability, which in turn predicts mating success, such as lifetime number of sexual partners. Also, males showed higher average humor production ability. These results suggest that the human sense of humor evolved at least partly through sexual selection as an intelligence-indicator.

Okay. But I have a few concerns. Namely: what's funny is often subjective, and I'm not certain that a random selection of scientists in New Mexico are the world's most qualified judges of "humor production ability." Also, this study suggests that funny people are smarter (which I can get behind) but also that they get more dates than less-funny people. And I am almost positive that can't be right. I mean, maybe it seems to scientists that comedians get all the ladies, but what about all the hilarious nerds we knew (and, like, were) in high school who ground our teeth at the thought of less-funny-and-smart jocks dating the proverbial cheerleaders? (My school had no actual cheerleaders -- hence, proverbial. There were proverbs.)

Also, I feel like this whole idea of funnier-and-smarter-gets-more-dates is biased towards men, because I'm sure there are lots of funny, smart women who felt pressure as young women to appear less smart than they really were. My hunch is that, for women, being funny and smart is not rewarded in the same way.

What do you think?

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College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
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One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

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North America: East or West Coast?
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