The Psychology of Humor

The Psychology of Humor

Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Issues

1st Edition - July 28, 1972

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  • Editor: Jeffrey H Goldstein
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483288543

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The Psychology of Humor: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Issues examines theoretical perspectives and empirical issues concerning the psychology of humor. Theoretical views of humor range from the physiological to the sociological and anthropological. The relations between humor, laughter, and smiling are considered, along with the connection between collative variables and arousal. Comprised of 13 chapters, this book begins with an introduction to the history of thought and major theoretical issues on humor, followed by a description of models of different aspects of humor. The next section deals with empirical issues in which selected research areas are given detailed attention. The relations between humor, laughter, and smiling, on the one hand, and collative variables and arousal, on the other, are analyzed. Subsequent chapters explore the cognitive origins of incongruity humor by comparing fantasy assimilation and reality assimilation; a two-stage model for the appreciation of jokes and cartoons; and the social functions and physiological correlates of humor. The relationship between arousal potential and funniness of jokes is also explored, together with humor judgments as a function of reference groups and identification classes. The final chapter presents an annotated bibliography of published papers on humor in the research literature and an analysis of trends between 1900 and 1971. This monograph will be of interest to psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and behavioral scientists.

Table of Contents

  • List of Contributors



    Part I Introduction

    Chapter 1. Early Conceptions of Humor: Varieties and Issues

    I. Introduction

    II. Varieties of Early Humor Theory

    III. Issues Arising from Earlier Humor Theories

    IV. Conclusion


    Part II Theoretical Perspectives

    Chapter 2. Humor and Its Kin

    I. Affinities of Humor

    II. Collative Variables and Pleasure

    III. Experiments on Collative Variables and Humor

    IV. Laughter

    V. The Smile

    VI. How Does Humor Differ?

    VII. Conclusion


    Chapter 3. On the Cognitive Origins of Incongruity Humor: Fantasy Assimilation Versus Reality Assimilation

    I. Introduction

    II. Stimulus Discrepancy and Affective Arousal

    III. Fantasy Assimilation Versus Reality Assimilation

    IV. The Development of Fantasy Assimilation

    V. Humor in Infancy?

    VI. Factors Influencing Mode of Assimilation

    VII. Mode of Assimilation and Affectively Salient Humor

    VIII. Summary


    Chapter 4. A Two-Stage Model for the Appreciation of Jokes and Cartoons: An Information-Processing Analysis

    I. Introduction

    II. The Basis of Joke and Cartoon Humor

    III. Comparison with Other Cognitive Theories

    IV. Suggestions for Research

    V. Conclusion


    Chapter 5. A Model of the Social Functions of Humor

    I. Introduction

    II. A Progress Report

    III. A Model of the Social Functions of Humor

    IV. Conclusion


    Part III Empirical Issues

    Chapter 6. Physiological Correlates of Humor

    I. Introduction

    II. The Essence of Humor

    III. Arousal: Humor and Curiosity

    IV. An Experimental Study

    V. Discussion


    Chapter 7. The Relationship Between Arousal Potential and Funniness of Jokes

    I. Arousal and Appreciation of Humor

    II. Measurement

    III. The Experiment

    IV. Summary


    Chapter 8. Enjoyment of Specific Types of Humor Content: Motivation or Salience?

    I. Introduction

    II. Experiment I: Salience and Drive in Humor Appreciation

    III. Experiment II: Salience and Appreciation for Variations in Humor Thema

    IV. Discussion and Conclusions


    Chapter 9. On Being Witty: Causes, Correlates, and Consequences

    I. Introduction

    II. A Paradigm for the Problem

    III. The Literature: What Do We Know?

    IV. Adding Evidence: Empirical Explorations

    V. For the Future


    Chapter 10. Humor Judgments as a Function of Reference Groups and Identification Classes

    I. Problems and Paradoxes

    II. Review of Experimental Literature

    III. Reasons Why IC's Construct Is Preferable to KG

    IV. Conclusion


    Chapter 11. Humor, Laughter, and Smiling: Some Preliminary Observations of Funny Behaviors

    I. Introduction

    II. Naturalistic Observations of Audience Laughter: In the Wilds of Knoxville and Elsewhere

    III. Laboratory Studies: Cosby and Diller, and Cambridge Too

    IV. Conclusion: Future Directions and Speculations


    Part IV Overview and Conclusions

    Chapter 12. Advances Toward an Understanding of Humor: Implications for the Future

    I. Contributions of the Present Volume

    II. An Overview



    Chapter 13. An Annotated Bibliography of Published Papers on Humor in the Research Literature and an Analysis of Trends: 1900-1971

    I. Introduction

    II. A Survey of Methodology in Empirical Studies: 1950-1971

    III. An Annotated Bibliography of Published Papers on Humor in the Research Literature: 1900-1971

    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 294
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1972
  • Published: July 28, 1972
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483288543

About the Editor

Jeffrey H Goldstein

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