Which characteristics do young adults value in a potential partner for long-term relationships? A new study by researchers at the UZH reveals that, besides friendliness, intelligence and a sense of humor, playfulness is also important – regardless of gender. Playful people also deem humor, a fun tendency, a laid-back attitude and creativity more important in partners than their non-playful counterparts.
Playful adults are fond of wordplay, like improvising, approach a challenge lightheartedly, take pleasure in unusual things, deal with others in a playful way, enjoy teasing – and create situations in which they and others are entertained: Playfulness in humans has many facets. In psychology, however, comparatively little research has been conducted into playfulness in adulthood.
The American anthropologist Garry Chick from Pennsylvania State University only recently developed a theory that playfulness in adults is a desirable trait in sexual selection: To women, it indicates a low level of aggression in men and to men vitality in women.
An initial study including surveys conducted among American students supports this hypothesis – and now René Proyer and Lisa Wagner from the Department of Psychology at the University of Zurich show in a study published in the «American Journal of Play» that playfulness also plays an important role in the choice of a partner in the European culture.
More than 320 young adults polled
The UZH researchers conducted their follow-up study with 327 young adults from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The participants were asked to examine a list of 16 characteristics and indicate whether or not they found them desirable in a future or potential partner for long-term relationships. The results showed that men and women largely agreed in their orders of preference – although there were differences in individual ratings: Women found a sense of humor more important than men and men found an exciting personality more important than women.
Friendliness, intelligence, humor and a fun tendency came at the top of the list. Playfulness ranked mid-table, although not all that far behind the favorites. “Therefore, this personality trait also seems important for the choice of partner – at least more so thant the partner having a degree, good genes or being religious,” says psychologist Proyer, explaining the results.
Moreover, further analyses revealed that participants who described themselves as playful also valued playfulness, humor, a laid-back attitude, a fun tendency and creativity among potential partners themselves. And the participants who were in relationships assessed themselves as more playful than those who were currently single. “Although we should be cautious while interpreting the data, this could be an indication that playful people are actually perceived as more attractive partners or that playfulness increasingly develops in the relationship,” says Proyer.
Proyer, R. T., & Wagner, L.. Playfulness in adults revisited: The signal theory in German speakers. American Journal of Play, February 24, 2015.
Dr. René Proyer
Department of Psychology
University of Zurich
Personality and Assessment
Tel.: +41 44 635 75 24
University of Zurich
Tel.: +41 44 634 44 39
Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy