The traditional sexual script and humor in courtship

Elaina M. Ross 1  and Jeffrey A. Hall 2
  • 1 Communication Studies, Northeastern State University, 600 North Grand Avenue, Tahlequah, USA
  • 2 Communication Studies, University of Kansas, 1440 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, USA
Elaina M. Ross
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  • Communication Studies, Northeastern State University, 600 North Grand Avenue, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, 74464, USA
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  • Elaina M. Ross (PhD University of Kansas) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Northeastern State University. Her research examines the intersection of interpersonal and organizational communication and focuses specifically on personal/professional role balance. Email: rossem@nsuok.edu
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and Jeffrey A. Hall
  • Communication Studies, University of Kansas, 1440 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045, USA
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  • Jeffrey A. Hall (PhD University of Southern California) is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at The University of Kansas. His research focuses on online dating, attraction, flirting, and humor in romantic relationships. He also studies the intersection between the adoption and use of mobile and social media and everyday life and relationship maintenance.
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Abstract

To account for sex differences in the production, receptivity, and preference for humor in potential mates during courtship, past research has often adopted an evolutionary approach. The present manuscript will attempt to integrate evolutionary explanations with proximal social and cultural influences using the traditional sexual script and ambivalent sexism theory. The results of both Study 1 (N=227) and Study 2 (N=424) suggest that trait masculinity is positively associated with humor production in courtship, while trait femininity is associated with humor receptivity. Study 1 indicated that the traditional flirting style was associated with less humor production by women, and Study 2 indicated that hostile sexism was related to a lower preference for a humor-producing potential partner by men. A sex difference in humor production in potential partners in Study 2 was no longer detectable once trait gender and hostile sexism was accounted for. Taken together, gender roles, over and above biological sex, influence one’s own humor use in courtship and preference for humor in potential partners.

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HUMOR, the official publication of the International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS), was established over 25 years ago as an international interdisciplinary forum for the publication of high-quality research papers on humor as an important and universal human faculty. The journal publishes original contributions in areas such as interdisciplinary humor research, humor theory, and humor research methodologies.

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