It’s an age-old question. Do we prefer our partners to be funny or smart. Well, one study believes they have the answer.



Researchers have determined which is more important – intelligence or wit – when it comes to dating in 2021. Look, not all of us are the complete package, so don’t take it too personal.

You may go on one of the many online dating apps, be they for Tinding, Grinding, Bumbling, Hingeing or (insert oddly spelled sex euphemism here), looking for love, for romance, or for someone to fill the void left by that person who recently left you without warning, leaving a sucking chest wound where once there dwelled a heart… 

Anyhow, kids. It’s a jungle out there. Once we used to meet people in bars, through friends, or in romantic comedy ‘meet-cutes’ involving comedic collisions in department stores and having your parcels mixed up by a clumsy doorman, played by Eugene Levy. No longer. Up to 60% of people use dating apps these days, and in as much, their criteria might be shifting.

Do you want to make hay with someone who is funny, or are you more of an intelligence person? There are looks, that seems to be a thing. Also, having interests in common should/used to play a part.

As reported in Psychology Today, researchers have been investigating how being smart and being funny relate to someone’s appeal as a potential mate in a dating situation. Published in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior, the hypothesis has been formed that high intelligence acts as a so-called “fitness marker” that shows potential mates that someone has great genes. If this idea were true, people should find potential partners in a dating situation more attractive if they are smarter.

In the first study, researchers tested the intelligence of 88 men, then recorded short video clips of them, and showed them to 179 women who rated each man regarding intelligence, funniness, physical attractiveness and mate appeal.

(‘Mate appeal’ would have a different meaning in certain Australian contexts; a bad decision by the AFL tribunal would have a teammate exclaim to the suspended player, “Mate, appeal!”)

The results found those more intelligent men had a slightly lower ‘mate appeal’ than less intelligent men. It seems that being perceived as intelligent was associated with higher mate appeal, independent of their actual intelligence. Being perceived as funny and perceived as physically attractive was also associated with higher mate appeal to women.

The study’s findings fly in the face of traditional analyses that humans developed higher intelligence through sexual selection. Sense of humour is the big winner in this race, so if you’re looking for love (and other things) bone up (tee-hee) on your ‘A’ material, come up with a tight 15 and you’ll be knee-deep in it in no time.  




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