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Humour 'from testosterone'

21st December 2007

Research from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital says that man "are naturally more comedic than women" due to their higher levels of testosterone.

Laughter

Professor Sam Shuster told the British Medical Journal that women made fewer jokes than men and male humour was more likely to be aggressive.

Professor Shuster rode his unicycle through Newcastle upon Tyne and recorded how 400 people responded to the sight.

Nearly 50% of people who witnessed Professor Shuster riding his unicycle made a verbal comment.

More men than women responded by making a comment. Three-quarters of men made a comedic comment - calling out "Lost your wheel?", or something similar.

Women had a tendency to react by making "encouraging comments" but men tended to jeer.

Younger men driving on the roads showed the most aggressive reaction, while older men tended to have a more positive response. Previous research has shown aggression may be linked to exposure to testosterone in the womb.

Professor Shuster stated that he thought humour was the product of aggression and was caused by testosterone.

"The difference between the men and women was absolutely remarkable and consistent," said Professor Shuster.

"At 11-13 years, the boys began to get really aggressive. Into puberty, the aggression became more marked, then it changed into a form of joke. The men were snide."

Professor Shuster said although the "initial" reaction was aggressive, it was masked by humour and turned into a joke.

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Article Information

Title: Humour 'from testosterone'
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 5169
Date Added: 21st Dec 2007

Sources

BBC News

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