Submitted on 08/01/2019

Lachezar Ivanov's Open Access article published in the renowned International Journal of Advertising (VHB: C) reveals: How marketers can use evolutionary psychology to understand gender differences. You can read it 

Developing a new product or a communication campaign targeted at a specific gender? A new study by DCR scholars Lachezar Ivanov, Martin Eisend, and Tomas Bayon in International Journal of Advertising helps marketers understand when and what differences you can expect in men and women.

The three scholars base their study on evolutionary psychology (EP). EP rejects the idea that the mind starts off as an empty slate. Instead, EP suggests that the human mind has evolved to provide solutions to recurring adaptive problems. Differences in the innate biological blueprints in the minds of men and women reflect differences in the adaptive problems the two genders faced during evolution. Therefore, marketers can expect gender differences in response to products or communication campaigns when biological differences can lead to such adaptations.

For example, differences in the reproductive costs of the two genders can lead to the formation of behavioral and communication preferences. According to the parental investment hypothesis, in any given species, the one gender that provides a greater minimal parental investment (e.g., pregnancy and child care) is typically the choosier gender. In humans, when evaluating prospective mates, women pay increased attention to cues that signal fitness and good genes. One such signal is humor, because humor ability is correlated with intelligence and a low mutation load. Hence, marketing campaigns that feature spontaneous genuine humor resonate well with women, while women are rather put off by non-spontaneous canned humor (e.g., commercials that feature pick-up lines).

In conclusion, marketers can use EP to better understand gender differences. With that knowledge in hand, marketers can develop new products or communication campaigns that better resonate with the targeted gender.


Ivanov, L., Eisend, M., & Bayon, T. (2019). Gendering conversational humor in advertising: an evolutionary explanation of the effects of spontaneous versus canned humor. International Journal of Advertising, 38(7), 979-999.

Link to the full article (Open Access):

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