A new study out of Penn State shows that "playfulness" might be a key factor in attracting a human mate (kangaroos don't give a shit). It's the old "I just want a guy with a good sense of humor" line, only this time it's made of science! Exciting! Or, I don't know if it technically counts as science, but there was a survey (published in the American Journal of Play, which exists). So what we know is that people believe and self-report that "playfulness" is what they want in a partner, even if what they actually go out and bang is another story:
"Humans and other animals exhibit a variety of signals as to their value as mates," said Garry Chick, professor and head of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. "Just as birds display bright plumage or coloration, men may attract women by showing off expensive cars or clothing. In the same vein, 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."
..."The fact that the subjects tended to rank 'sense of humor,' 'fun loving' and 'playful' at or near the top of the list of 16 characteristics does not mean that the mates they have selected or will select will actually exhibit these traits," said Chick. "In addition, the results may be skewed by the fact that most of the study subjects were college students from a western culture. Despite these caveats, it seems to us that signaling one's virtues as a potential long-term mate through playfulness is not far-fetched. Our results suggest that adult playfulness may result from sexual selection and signal positive qualities to potential long-term mates."
So...thank you Dr. Noshit from the Sherlock Institute of Duh Science! People like hanging out with people who are fun to hang out with. Still, snark aside, any documentation of humans being attracted to personalities rather than just bodies/wealth/security/social signaling is a triumph for personality-having folks everywhere. So who's up for some Kerplunk later? (Or as I like to call it, SECOND BASE.)
Photo credit: yuri_arcurs / Stockfresh.