Using evolutionary psychology to develop your own prediction about communication - Essay Example

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Laughter could be a simple form of early communication with social purposes (Provine, 1996). Ethologists have offered several theories on why people laugh and why men and women are both attracted to people who laugh and can make them…
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Why can laughter make a woman attractive to men? For humans, laughter came before speech. Laughter could be a simple form of early communication with social purposes (Provine, 1996). Ethologists have offered several theories on why people laugh and why men and women are both attracted to people who laugh and can make them laugh. Ramachandran (1998) offered the false alarm theory, which states that laughter is a form of social communication that assures that danger is not present in the environment. Miller (1998) focused more on laughter as an important factor in sexual selection (as cited in Bressler & Balshine, 2006). He believed that laughter could be a sign of genetic fitness that attracts the opposite sex. What is not yet fully known is why men, in particular, are attracted to women’s laughter. The question is: Why can laughter make a woman attractive to men?
The false alarm theory and sexual selection theory can be both used to explain why women’s laughter attract men. The false alarm theory states that people laugh to show that any possible anomaly or threat in the environment is not present (i.e. the initially thought of as an anomaly is a false alarm) (Ramachandran, 1998, p.352). It explains that laughter assures others that harm is not present in the environment, which also partially explains why laughter is done more when people are around than when alone (Provine, 1996). In connection to laughter, false alarm theory suggests that women laugh to signal that they are not in danger. They laugh when they are with men because they want to make sure that resources are saved by not sending an incorrect alarm signal. The second theory is sexual selection theory that states that laughter is attractive because it is a sign of fitness. My hypothesis is that women laugh to signal that they are not in harm’s way. This means that laughter reduces risks or perceptions of harm to men. At the same time, women laugh to show that they can take care of their children well because laughter is related to genetic fitness (Bressler & Balshine, 2006). Men are attracted to women who laugh because of lower threats in the environment and perception of women’s genetic fitness.
My prediction is that men like women who laugh because the latter’s laughter signal lack of danger and ability to protect their offspring. Women’s ability to expel noise through laughter, is an indicator that they are good sexual mates because they are good mothers. In other words, when women laugh, they look sexier because laughter is connected to their ability to take care of their offspring and being a capable mother attracts men, according to the theory of sexual mate selection. In other words, laughter shows fitness to be a mother. In addition, women’s laughter indicates the absence of danger, based on the false alarm theory. Laughter may be reducing risks to men who want to increase chances of sexual selection success.
The experiment is that men will watch two short videos of a woman (two different women) in conversation with a man (same man for the two videos). These women should have basically the same physical features (e.g. both brunettes and medium body size, with same eye color and almost the same noses, mouths, and skin color), to avoid these variables from affecting male assessments. One woman laughs frequently during the conversation, while the other does not. A survey will ask if the male participants think that these women can be good mothers, based on what they saw from the videos. In addition, the survey will ask them which women they found more attractive. Third, it will ask them which woman they would court and which would most likely agree to date them. The experiment seeks to prove the hypothesis that men will rate women who laugh as better mothers and as more attractive than those who do not. They will also find laughing women as less intimidating than non-laughing ones. It will offer some proof that laughter has a connection to sexual selection and reduction of perceptions of harms and risks.
Bressler, E. R., & Balshine, S. (2006). The influence of humor on desirability. Evolution and Human Behavior, 27(1), 29-39. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.06.002
Provine, R. R. (1996). Laughter. American Scientist, 84(1), 38-45.
Ramachandran, V. S. (1998). The neurology and evolution of humor, laughter, and smiling: The false alarm theory. Medical Hypotheses, 51(4), 351-354. doi:10.1016/S0306-9877(98)90061-5 Read More
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