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Scientific Research On Sense Of Humour Sheds Light On Psychological Profiles

Date:
June 18, 2007
Source:
University Of Granada
Summary:
The researcher analysed more than 1,500 people between the ages of 18 and 80 and a similar number of men and women. The study concludes that there are no universally good or bad jokes for both women and men, and points out that women have changed their humorous preferences.
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FULL STORY

Is it possible to scientifically measure someone’s sense of humour? Are there universally good or bad jokes that make people laugh no matter their gender, profession or cultural background? These are some of the questions answered by the doctoral thesis Sentido del Humor: Construcción de la Escala de Apreciación del Humor (Sense of humour: building of the appreciation of humour scale), carried out by Hugo Carretero Dios, researcher in the Department of Social Psychology and Methodology of Behavioural Science at the University of Granada.

This study, directed by researchers Cristino Pérez Meléndez and Gualberto Buela Casal, is the first work in Spain stemming from Psychology aimed at measuring people’s sense of humour to analyse the psychological variables related to humour. Carretero Dios analysed more than 1,500 people between the ages of 18 and 80 and a similar number of men and women.

This study focused on the following types of humour: sexual humour, black humour, humour degrading to men, humour degrading to women, simple humour and complex humour. The study provided the first scientifically approved evaluation instrument in Spain to evaluate humour appreciation. Moreover, it helped to improve other instruments used in other countries.

Generational change

Carretero Dios observed a generational change in the women’s preferences to the different types of humour. “There has been change in women’s values and roles in our society,” says Carretero Dios. “In people over 45-50, we observed that both men and women laughed more at jokes degrading to women than those degrading to men”. At the same time, both men and women showed more rejection to jokes degrading to men.

However, among the participants between 18-25 years old, the trend was different and men and women had different reactions. Men laugh more at jokes degrading to women and reject those degrading to men. By contrast, women laugh more at jokes degrading to men and reject those degrading to women. Indeed, this trend is more pronounced in women.

Could these findings show a change in educational values or even a new pattern in the roles played by women? According to Carretero Dios, “humour is useful to study the predominant values of a specific society, and is also a powerful instrument to show cultural trends (beliefs, actions, etc). We only need to remember the conflict caused by the Mohammed cartoons last year, in which humour clashed with religion.”

Universal humour does not exist

One of the conclusions of this study was that the different personalities of people help to differentiate specific humour preferences. “Consequently, there are no universally good or bad jokes — humour depends on the person,” says Carretero Dios.

Contrary to what we would expect, “a particular person’s momentary state of mind in a humourous situation, such as on hearing a joke, does not imply that the person finds that particular situation funny,” explains Carretero Dios. A person’s taste in humour “is rather an intellectual or aesthetic question, emotion or state of mind being more related to physiological and behavioural factors of sense of humour than an opinion of what we think is funny.”

The results were published in  the International Journal of Humor Research.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University Of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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University Of Granada. "Scientific Research On Sense Of Humour Sheds Light On Psychological Profiles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070614104032.htm>.
University Of Granada. (2007, June 18). Scientific Research On Sense Of Humour Sheds Light On Psychological Profiles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070614104032.htm
University Of Granada. "Scientific Research On Sense Of Humour Sheds Light On Psychological Profiles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070614104032.htm (accessed July 31, 2015).

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