Who's funny: gender stereotypes, humor production, and memory bias

Laura Mickes, Drew E Walker, Julian L Parris, Robert Mankoff, Nicholas J S Christenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


It has often been asserted, by both men and women, that men are funnier. We explored two possible explanations for such a view, first testing whether men, when instructed to be as funny as possible, write funnier cartoon captions than do women, and second examining whether there is a tendency to falsely remember funny things as having been produced by men. A total of 32 participants, half from each gender, wrote captions for 20 cartoons. Raters then indicated the humor success of these captions. Raters of both genders found the captions written by males funnier, though this preference was significantly stronger among the male raters. In the second experiment, male and female participants were presented with the funniest and least funny captions from the first experiment, along with the caption author's gender. On a memory test, both females and males disproportionately misattributed the humorous captions to males and the nonhumorous captions to females. Men might think men are funnier because they actually find them so, but though women rated the captions written by males slightly higher, our data suggest that they may regard men as funnier more because they falsely attribute funny things to them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-12
Number of pages5
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Memory


  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Prejudice
  • Stereotyping
  • Wit and Humor as Topic/psychology


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