Maybe I'm crazy [and I know more than a few people who would take the word "maybe" out of that opening], but I don't think there's anything more subjective than comedy. If you've ever told the same joke to more than one person, the reaction will probably differ. Now imagine trying to settle the question of whether men or women are funnier. I wouldn't jump into that dispute. But Science [which has a poor record of settling such questions. Quick: is butter good or bad for you?  You're not sure, because Science has gone back and forth on the question! And don't even bring up red meat!] says it can settle the issue, once and for all! Yeah, right...

Anyway, researchers at the University of California at San Diego came up with a test. They took the caption off a magazine cartoon. Then they had 16 male and 16 female students each write a new joke for the cartoon. A group of students drawn from both genders voted on the captions, without knowing who had written them.

The results? Well, on a scale of 0 - 5, male-written captions were higher rated by 0.11 of a point than ones written by women. A difference that small could be explained by any number of unusual circumstances in the study. It could be explained by a math mistake, or one of those statistical "plus-or-minus" factors you always see losing politicians refer to when they explain why they're losing!

For what it's worth, "Psychosomatic Bulletin & Review", which published the study, says men seem to prefer the humor of other men more than women do [Ironically, men who try to attract women by making them laugh are probably only making other men who are trying to attract women by making them laugh laugh].

What's the difference between male and female humor? Not part of the study, but a new research project is reportedly going to look at just that. Stand by for the results...

(CBS.com)