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The Humor Effect: How Laughing Helps You Remember

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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The Humor Effect: How Laughing Helps You Remember

The Humor Effect: How Laughing Helps You Remember

https://effectiviology.com/humor-effect/

effectiviology.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Verbatim Effect

The verbatim effect is a cognitive bias that makes people remember the general outline and meaning of the information that is provided and not the exact, complete details.

Examp...

Why We Experience the Verbatim Effect

There are two main memory processes:

  • Gist Memory concentrates on the core meaning of the information.
  • Verbatim Memory focuses on the surface form or the easily visible part of the information.

The Gist Memory is encoded in a better way because it is an important part of the information, and is not apparent at first, making it desirable and thus easier to retain.

Variance in the Verbatim Effect

The Verbatim Effect varies in its influence on people and may or may not occur in situations, as it depends on several factors like:

  • The individual's preferences, abilities, and experience.
  • The type of information, along with the reason for interacting with the information. A meaningless piece of information will not have any verbatim effect on an individual.

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The Benjamin Franklin effect

Is a psychological phenomenon that causes us to like someone more after we do that person a favor: We justify our actions to ourselves, that we did them a favor because we liked them.

The cognitive dissonance theory

Suggests that holding 2 or more contradictory beliefs at the same time causes people to experience mental discomfort, which manifests as psychological stress. 

And people will always seek to minimize their cognitive dissonance and the discomfort it creates.

The Benjamin Franklin effect has generally been explained using cognitive dissonance theory.

Essentially, this means that when someone does you a favor, they need to be able to justify...

The Benjamin Franklin effect has generally been explained using cognitive dissonance theory.

Essentially, this means that when someone does you a favor, they need to be able to justify it to themself, in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance that might occur from doing something nice for someone that they dislike.

1. The Loci Technique

Also known as “The Memory Palace, it consists of associating each item you’re trying to remember with a specific image and a place. You can imagine the items lying around in places that have...

2. Mnemonics

Acronyms, music (very effective) or rhyme, or sentences of words that start with the same letter as the items you are trying to memorize are all mnemonic techniques that help you to remember and retrieve information.

3. The Storytelling Technique

Stories encompass all the qualities of information that makes our brain love and remember it: vivid and colorful picture and engaging plotlines about other beings that are alive.

By creating a narrative that is interesting to and include items you need to memorize, you create a story your brain can follow.

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Using The Benjamin Franklin Effect
  • Remember that the favor matters more than its scope. In most cases, the increase in rapport comes from the fact that the other person does you a favor.
  • Use reciprocity, by pe...
Facts Related To The Ben Franklin Effect
  • Research shows that being kind to someone increases how much you like that person.
  • Being asked a favor can make one feel acknowledged for their expertise, which can cause them to develop more positive feelings toward the person asking for help.
  • The negative Benjamin Franklin effect happens when people who do something negative to someone will increase the degree to which they dislike that person, in order to justify their negative actions to themselves.
The Benjamin Franklin Effect

A psychological phenomenon that causes people to like someone more after they do them a favor, especially if they dislike the helped person. 

You can use it to benefit and protect yourself when interacting with others.

The Science of Memory
  1. Encoding - the stage when the brain consciously acknowledges information based on our senses. When we attach meaning or factual knowledge to any of this sensory input, that'...
Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Memory
  • Get a good night's sleep or take a power nap after learning something new, to help retain and retrieve memories better. Sleep deprivation and acquisition of too much information will not help you save those memories.
  • Get moving, to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood in your brain and to trigger neuron growth and new connections in the brain - critical for memory.
  • Improve your diet. Fats from food can build up the brain, resulting to poor blood flow.
Mnemonics

Any system or device designed to aid memory:

  • patterns of letters or words (common mnemonics)
  • ideas (memory palace)
  • associations (chunking)

4 more ideas

Humor at work
Humor at work

Being funny can have both positive and negative consequences, in your personal as well as your professional life. And context is always important: when making a joke, for instance, you should defin...

Humor and its effects on the status

Humor and status have always been tightly linked: good leaders seem to often use humor in order to motivate their team members' actions. As individuals, we tend to prefer, researchers claim, jokes that make us laugh while feeling slightly uncomfortable.

Furthermore, we perceive the joke teller as a self-confident person, who could easily become a leader due to his or her courage to make such a joke. The key point here is that the joke should be appropriate and match the context.

Inside jokes

Making inside jokes usually shows how bounded a team or a group is: their jokes can understood the best by themselves.

However, the moment an outsider integrates the group, it is better to avoid the inside jokes, as this will most probably make him or her feel out of place.

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A Good Sense Of Humor
A Good Sense Of Humor
  • Humor has many practical uses, like diffusing a difficult situation, masking one’s nervousness, coping with failure and softening the criticism doled out to someone. 
  • Humor works ...
The Perfect Formula Of Funny

According to philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, humor is derived from a sudden unmatching or unexpected outcome of an event, which had in our minds a specific expectation. This causes a mild ‘violation’ in our minds, which creates the humor.

Non-Words

In a series of experiments, it was found that the greater the ‘violation of the expected outcome’ the greater the humor feels. It also found that certain non-words, which are a combination of letter strings (like digifin, or artorts) but have no dictionary meaning, are the most consistent in their funniness rating.


Non-words with low entropy(the extent of them being unexpected) seem to offer more surprise, and therefore, get a higher humor rating.

Michael Kerr

In workplaces that encourage people to be themselves--that are less hierarchical and more innovative--people tend..."

Michael Kerr
Why humor is a key to success at work
  • People will enjoy working with you.
  • Humor is a potent stress buster.
  • It is humanizing.
  • It puts others at ease.
  • Ha + ha = aha!  Humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking.
  • It helps build trust.
  • It boosts morale.
  • People who use humor tend to be more approachable.
  • Humor can allow your company to stand out.
  • It can increase productivity.
Humor benefits to marketing materials
Humor benefits to marketing materials
  • Humor breaks down walls, shows personality a.k.a. shows a brand's human side.
  • Humor is attention-grabbing. It is naturally colorful and original.
  • People love ...
At its worst, humor is:
  • The wrong joke at the wrong time. It can make your brand look amateurish and unprofessional.
  • If people think you’re cracking jokes for the sole purpose of getting more attention, you’ll be seen as exploitative rather than funny.
  • Humor can cheapen certain ideas or make them be taken less seriously.
  • In some cases, humor can be outright offensive.
  • Key areas to create value with humor
    • Humorous touches can almost always improve a piece that is already valuable on its own.
    • If you’re sure a joke is going to land, it can make an effective advertisement. Test variations of the joke with a small audience first; that way, you can be sure the humor doesn’t cross a line.
    • Brand differentiation. For example, Oreo has long differentiated itself by offering a quirky, tongue-in-cheek voice across its social media platforms. This is especially effective in dry, or otherwise “boring” industries.
    • Personal branding. Elon Musk, for example, has separated himself from his companies Tesla and SpaceX by cracking jokes and roasting people on his own account.

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    The Zeigarnik Effect

    Unfinished work continues to exert an influence, even when we try to move on to other things.

    When you start working on something but do not finish it, thoughts of the unfinished work ...

    The Zeigarnik effect and memory

    It reveals a great deal about how memory works. Zeigarnik suggested that failing to complete a task creates underlying cognitive tension. This results in greater mental effort and rehearsal in order to keep the task at the forefront of awareness. Once completed, the mind is then able to let go of these efforts.

    You can even use this psychological phenomenon to your advantage.

    Get More Out of Your Study Sessions
    • Break up your study sessions rather than try to cram it all in the night before the test. By studying information in increments, you will be more likely to remember it until test day.
    • If you are struggling to memorize something important, momentary interruptions might actually work to your advantage. While you are focusing on other things, you will find yourself mentally returning to the information you were studying.

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