Culture and Lifestyle Report for Lovers and Pleasure-seekers

Come, all ye playful

July 2012

Playfulness is a highly desired characteristic in potential long-term mates, suggests a recent study published in the Spring 2012 Issue of the American Journal of Play.

A team from the Pennsylvania State University conducted the study with a list of 16 desirable traits individuals may seek in a prospective partner. The survey was handed to 164 male and 89 female participants and of those 16 traits, 'sense of humour', 'fun loving' and 'playful' ranked highest. Professor Garry Chick of the state university says that 'playfulness in a male may signal to females that he is nonaggressive and less likely to harm them or their offspring. A woman's playfulness, on the other hand, may signal her youth and fertility'.

Researcher Kristofor McCarty of the Northumbria University in Newcastle led a similar study in 2009, suggesting that women use humour as an indication of a man's intelligence.

But while both genders regard sense of humour as important, they gauge it differently. Professor Doug Kenrick of the University of Arizona says: When a woman looks for a sense of humour in a man, she's saying, 'show me what you've got'. But when a man looks for a sense of humour in a woman, he's saying, 'she laughs at my jokes...she must think I'm a great guy'.

Further reading: Journal of Play  |  BBC  |  Telegraph