The Humor Effect: How Laughing Helps You Remember - Deepstash

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The humor effect defined

The humor effect defined

The humor effect is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to remember information better when that information is perceived as funny or humorous.

The use of humor enhances people’s memory, whether they are trying to remember verbal information, such as words and sentences, or visual information, such as pictures and videos.

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Benefits of incorporating humor into learning

Benefits of incorporating humor into learning

  • Humorous information receives increased attention during the perception stage.
  • Improved encoding. Our brain gives preferential treatment to humorous information when it comes to storing it in our memory.
  • The use of humor serves as a distraction from negative emotions, such as anger or anxiety, that people might experience when processing certain information.
  • Reading or viewing something humorous has a positive and energizing effect.
  • Adding humor to the information that you are presenting can make it more interesting to others.

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Different types of humor lead to different outcomes

The use of positive, nonaggressive humor is associated with 

  • improved learning outcomes, 
  • a relaxed learning environment, 
  • better student evaluations, 
  • an increased motivation to learn, 
  • improved information recall, 
  • an increased degree of student satisfaction throughout the learning process.

The use of negative or aggressive humor, especially if aimed at particular students, will produce the opposite effect.

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Strategic humor tips

Strategic humor tips

  • Humor works better when it’s related to the information that you’re trying to remember. Try to use only relevant humor that pertains directly to the information that you want to emphasize.
  • Humor serves as a better attention and memory aid when it’s unexpected in some way. Try to avoid information that could be perceived by your audience as too predictable.
  • Humor works better when it’s not too subtle since some people simply won’t notice it.

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