A new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Psychology, Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, and the State University of New York at Oswego have found that humor is the most effective flirting technique.

“What’s most effective depends on your gender and whether the purpose of the flirtation is a long-term or short-term relationship,” says Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Department of Psychology.

The research study used Online Qualtrics surveys of college students aged 18 – 30 years to determine the most effective techniques. In Norway, students attending lectures were recruited. In addition, flyers were handed out and posters were distributed at various campuses. This contained information about the study with a link and a QR code directing the students to a website for responding to the survey. The Norwegian sample included 415 heterosexual respondents.

In the US, an email message with a link to a Qualtrics survey was sent to students at one university. At the other university students in an introductory social psychology and an introductory research methods course were invited to take part in the research for ‘extra course credit’. The US sample included 577 heterosexual respondents aged.

The participants from both groups rated how effective 40 different types of flirting were for a long-term or a short-term relationship, and whether the flirter was male or female.

“People think that humor, or being able to make another person laugh, is most effective for men who are looking for a long-term relationship. It’s least effective for women who are looking for a one-night stand. But laughing or giggling at the other person’s jokes is an effective flirtation tactic for both sexes,” says Kennair.

“It is not only effective to be funny, but for women, it is very important that you show your potential partner that you think they are funny” Rebecca Burch, a co-author from SUNY Oswego, US, added.

The complete study may be read here.