Does self-deprecating humor confer a survival advantage on those who use it?
If so, how does it work?
* Gil Greengross and I [Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico] showed that women are more attracted to men who use self-deprecating rather than other-deprecating humor during courtship (but only if the men are fairly high in social status). This is consistent with the costly-signalling idea that self-mockery is a virtue that only the successful can afford.
* Martie Haselton and I showed that women at peak fertility, just before ovulation, show a stronger preference for creativity as opposed to wealth in potential mates. This supports the idea that creativity is an indicator of “good genes” rather than of potential as a “good provider.”
* Vladas Griskevicius, several colleagues, and I showed that if men are put in a romantic mood rather than a neutral mood, they are more likely to spend money on conspicuous luxuries, whereas women spend more time on conspicuous charity, such that each sex is signalling a trait (social status or kindness) that is relatively more desired by the other sex.
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