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The Science Behind Being Funny. This Is No Joke.

The Incongruity Theory

We find humor when something happens that doesn't fit with what we expected to happen. It's about the unexpected.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Science Behind Being Funny. This Is No Joke.

The Science Behind Being Funny. This Is No Joke.

https://www.inc.com/james-sudakow/the-science-behind-being-funny-this-is-no-joke.html

inc.com

5

Key Ideas

The Superiority Theory

It suggest that our humor is derived from the misfortune of others, which makes us feel superior.

That explains for example why a lot of us find it funny when people fall down. 

The Relief Theory

The perception of humor is directly related to the release of built up tension. We are set up through tension to get to a release point of humor. And that release has been shown to actually be good for our health.

The Kick of the Discovery Theory

Humor, just like the joy of always learning new things, works by leading us one way and then suddenly shifting our perceptions.

Shock and surprise are needed for that turn, but there must be a destination too. 

The Benign Violations Theory

It says that humor comes from a few necessary conditions:

  1. There needs to be a norm violation (moral norm, a social norm, or a physical norm).
  2. There needs to be a safe context where the violation takes place. That gives us permission to laugh.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Humour in philosophy
Humour in philosophy
  • Henri Bergson, a Fresh philosopher of the late 19th century, was also an author of a famous essay that focused on laughter. Before Bergson, few philosophers had given laughter much t...
Humour and respect

Everyone who ever had to explain their own joke knows that comedy cannot survive analysis. Once you take humour apart, it loses its effect and dies in the process.

Henri Bergson published his essay on laughter in 1900. He believed that laughter should be studied as 'a living thing' and treated with 'the respect due to life.'

Conditions for laughter to thrive

Henri Bergson's general observations related to when laughter is most likely to appear and thrive:

  • The comic is strictly human. When laughter is directed at non-humans, we may laugh, but only because we have detected some human attitude or expression.
  • Laughter has no greater foe than emotion. Emotional states like pity, melancholy, rage, etc. make it difficult for us to find humour in the things we might otherwise have laughed at. But humour also appears to serve as a coping mechanism in the face of tragedy or misfortune.
  • Laughter seems to require an echo. It is used in the context of social bonding.

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Humor during a crisis

For ancient Greek philosophers, humor was something that had the potential to undermine authority and the good order.

Today, in democratic societies, those in power are mocked and their p...

The power of laughter
  • Humor, in a way, protects us from life's grim reality. We joke because if we didn't, we'd cry.
  • Humor and laughing are also a social vocalization that includes some and excludes others. Jokes establish who is inside the group and who is not. We laugh with people to belong, and at others to exclude.
  • In our current crises, humor is everywhere because fear is too. Laughter binds us together against a common enemy.
When to joke

Poking fun at the ills of the world is only funny if they are considered benign. No one is making memes about child abuse that may increase during periods of enforced domestic isolation.

Observations about people's behavior can be funny if they poke fun at a social norm in a relatively inoffensive way, such as hoarding toilet paper.

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

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.
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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