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Influence of gender on judgments of dark and nondark’s humor

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We examined gender differences in the perception of dark and nondark humor. Judgment ratings based on four humor characteristics (Surprise, Incongruity, Comprehension and Funniness) were assessed. Results revealed significant differences in the perception of dark and nondark humorous cartoons for women only. Women rated nondark cartoons as less incongruous and less surprising but more comprehensible and funny than dark ones. Furthermore, for men (n = 150) and women (n = 150), Surprise and Comprehension ratings were both significant predictors of the funniness of nondark cartoons. However, Funniness predictors of dark cartoons were modulated by gender. These results reflect general inter-individual differences on the appreciation of specific forms of humor and extend Suls's cognitive model (1972) of humor.
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Individual Differences Research www.idr-journal.com
2012, Vol. 10, No. 4 , pp. 211-222 ISSN: 1541-745X
© 2012 Individual Differences Association, Inc.
211
Influence of Gender on Judgment of
Dark and Nondark Humor
Marlène Aillaud* & Annie Piolat
Aix-Marseille University
*Marlène Aillaud ; Centre PsyCLÉ, Aix-Marseille University, 29 Av. Schuman, 13621 Aix-en-
Provence Cedex 1, France ; Tel.: + 33 4 42 95 37 30 ; Fax: + 33 4 42 38 91 70 ;
marlene.aillaud@univ-provence.fr (e-mail).
ABSTRACT - We examined gender differences in the perception of dark and nondark humor.
Judgment ratings based on four humor characteristics (Surprise, Incongruity, Comprehension and
Funniness) were assessed. Results revealed significant differences in the perception of dark and
nondark humorous cartoons for women only. Women rated nondark cartoons as less incongruous
and less surprising but more comprehensible and funny than dark ones. Furthermore, for men (n =
150) and women (n = 150), Surprise and Comprehension ratings were both significant predictors
of the funniness of nondark cartoons. However, Funniness predictors of dark cartoons were
modulated by gender. These results reflect general inter-individual differences on the appreciation
of specific forms of humor and extend Suls’s cognitive model (1972) of humor.
Inter-individual variability observed in humor-related behavior and experience may
provide support for the multidimensionality of humor. Perhaps the most discriminating
inter-individual variability is the case of gender. The study of gender differences in the
area of psychology has been extensive. A meta-analysis of this research by Hyde (2005,
2007) concluded that men score higher in visual-spatial activity, aggressiveness (Burton,
Hafetz, & Henninger, 2007) and in mathematic abilities (Hedges & Nowell, 1995) than
women. Conversely, women score higher than men, in communication (LaFrance, Hecht,
& Paluck, 2003), verbal abilities, moral reasoning (Jaffee & Hyde, 2000) and emotion
(Brody & Hall, 2000). Gender differences have also been observed as far as humor-
related phenomenona are concerned. Indeed, there is a great amount of evidence for
gender differences in the perception, production and utilization of humor (see Lampert &
Ervin-Tripp, 1998). For example, women appear to prefer nonsense humor, whereas men
are likely to enjoy aggressive and sexual humor. This study explores gender differences
in the perception and appreciation of a specific form of humor, namely dark humor,
which surprisingly has received little, if any, attention in this research area.
Humor-related topics can be defined as “anything that people say or do that is
perceived as funny and tends to make others laugh” (Martin, 2007, p.5). Most cognitive
humor theories assume that humor relies on the simultaneous perception of a situation
(event, idea) from the perspective of two self-consistent but normally incompatible
frames of reference, namely incongruity (Samson, Hempelmann, Huber, & Zysset, 2009).
According to Suls (1972), a situation becomes humorous and as such associated with the
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experience of a positive emotion (i.e., exhilaration, mirth, laugh, pleasure) through a two-
stage process. This process involves first the identification of an incongruity and then its
subsequent resolution in order for a situation to be respectively understood and
appreciated as humorous. In particular, situations, events, or objects are incongruous
when their presence triggers a discrepancy with the situation model constructed by the
recipient (van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983; Zwaan, Langston, & Graesser, 1995).
When a reader looks at a cartoon, initial information activates stored expectations to
construct a mental model. Further information provided by the perception of a specific
element leads to the construction of a subsequent mental model. The experience of the
incongruity is the result of the comparison between the first and the second model. In
order to appreciate the cartoon, the recipient has to resolve the incongruity. Therefore,
he/she is forced to go backwards and reinterpret the image or to fit his/her situational
model to the image. Coulson and Kutas (2001) called this kind of conceptual revision
frame-shifting.
However, given the fact that many different forms of humorous situations exist (e.g.,
non-sense, sexual, aggressive, teasing, dark) it has been questioned whether besides
incongruity resolution other additional variables may contribute to this process. Such
variables include structural characteristics such as the nature and extent of incongruity,
the surprise triggered by the perception of an incongruity and the overall comprehension
of a situation as humorous (Herzog, Harris, Kropscott, & Fuller, 2006). Furthermore,
inter-individual differences such as gender, personality traits and sense of humor have
also been shown to modulate the extent to which various humorous forms are perceived
and utilized (Ruch, 1992, 2007).
A specific form of humor with interesting characteristics is dark humor. Dark humor
relies on the deviation from values and the transgression of social norms and moral
systems and as such relates closely to both sick and aggressive/hostile humor. On one
hand, sick humor is content-defined and includes topics such as disease, deformity, death
and handicap (Mindess, Miller, Turek, Bender, & Corbin, 1985). On the other hand,
aggressive or hostile humor is function-defined used as a form of criticism and expressed
when socially inappropriate (Martin, 2007). Both of these types of humor can be
perceived as antisocial and transgressive (Saroglou & Anciaux, 2004). Because dark
humor concerns a broad negative content and can indeed serve negative interpersonal
purposes (Dolitsky, 1983) it appears to provoke mixed valenced emotions such as
amusement and shame or disgust (Aillaud & Piolat, 2011). Overall, dark differs from
nondark humor in the nature of incongruity involved (i.e., social norm transgression) and
consequently the extent of surprise experienced as well as the level of comprehension of
a situation as humorous. As such the study of dark humor in relation to gender
differences allows us to explore the interaction of several structural characteristics and
inter-individual variability in the perception and appreciation of humorous situations.
Indeed, past research has provided evidence for gender differences in the
appreciation of specific forms of humor. Thorne, Kramarae, and Henley (1983) reported
that obscene or sexual humor is normatively restricted to men. Other studies reported that
compared to women men prefer both sexual and/or aggressive humor (Brodzinsky,
Barnet, & Aiello, 1981; Crawford, 1989; Herzog & Hager, 1995). Furthermore, a handful
of studies have indicated that men tend to like sick humor more than women do (Herzog
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213
& Anderson, 2000; Herzog & Karafa, 1998; Oppliger & Zillmann, 1997). Finally, the
relationship between joke cruelty and appreciation has been found to be moderated by
gender (Herzog & Anderson, 2000; Herzog et al., 2006, Samson & Meyer, 2010) and
jokes categories (Herzog & Bush, 1994; Herzog & Karafa, 1998). Specifically, Herzog
and colleagues’ research demonstrated a negative linear relation between cruelty level of
joke and appreciation for women only. These results postulated gender differences in a
large scope of emotion, sensitivity to violence, role of biological and hormonal factors in
affective reactions as well as a cultural impact in the perception of specific negative
humorous forms such as aggressive, sick, gallows or dark.
Furthermore, inter-individual variability effects have been demonstrated in humor
utilization. In terms of gender differences, men have been reported to create and produce
more humorous items (teasing, kidding, joking) than women (Lampert & Ervin-Tripp,
1998; Lundy, Tan, & Cunningham, 1998; Provine, 2000) with the former specializing in,
hostile humor (Crawford & Gressley, 1991) and the latter in producing more anecdotes,
spontaneous stories and context-related humor (Hay, 2000; Kotthoff, 2006). Further,
Jenkins (1985) showed that women strengthen their social cohesion through interaction
by using a cooperative, supportive, and self-mocking style of humor. In contrast, men are
more involved in creating and maintaining a positive self-image and thus use more
exclusive, challenging, and self-aggrandizing humor. Consequently, gender differences in
humor utilization may influence perception of different humorous style, such as dark one.
The aim of the present study was first, to examine gender differences in the
perception of dark compared to nondark humor on four humor characteristics, namely
surprise, incongruity, comprehension and funniness by using a set of cartoons. The
second objective was to explore any differences between men and women in the
appreciation of different forms of humor by examining which of these characteristics
contributed to whether cartoons were perceived as funny or not. The level of surprise has
been shown to correlate with the degree of incongruity of humorous situations (Suls,
1972) and was found to be a positive linear predictor of humor appreciation (Herzog &
Bush, 1994; Herzog & Hager, 1995; Herzog & Karafa, 1998; Wicker, Thorelli, Barron &
Ponder, 1981). Furthermore, comprehension, which refers to the extent to which cartoons
are understood as humorous items, has been found to be a curvilinear predictor of humor
appreciation (Herzog & Bush, 1994; Herzog & Larwin, 1988). We expected to observe
significant gender differences on the incongruity and surprise ratings in relation to the
nature of humor (dark and non-dark). According to gender studies, women compared to
men seem to be more affectionate (Briton & Hall, 1995) and experienced with higher
arousal feelings such as joy and sadness. Furthermore, Kohn, Kellermann, Gur,
Schneider, and Habel (2011) showed that the neural substrates involved in humor
processing are different between men and women. While the brain zones activated in
cognitive processing of humor are similar for both genders, the brain areas involved in
affective components are markedly different. As dark humor is concerned with the
transgression of social norms and consequently elicits higher level of surprise than
nondark humor, these gender differences should become apparent with female
participants rating dark humor cartoons as more incongruous and more surprising than
nondark ones. Similarly, as highlighted above gender differences have been found in the
appreciation of specific styles of humor with males showing preference to sick and/or
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214
aggressive humor, we expected that female participants would rate dark humor cartoons
as being less funny than nondark humor ones.
Method
Participants
Participants were 300 psychology undergraduates (150 men, 150 women) from Aix-
Marseille University, France. The average age of the sample was 20.6 years (SD = 2.96).
They were all volunteers who received course credit as a reward.
Stimulus Materials
To control for graphic effects, 61 dark-and-white uncaptioned cartoons by Serre
based on the notions of pleasantness/unpleasantness and physical/intellectual states were
used. Serre (1938-1998) was an illustrator for a famous French magazine, before
becoming a well-known drawer. His first book won a Dark humor award in 1972.
These cartoon stimuli were selected after a pretest with a separate sample of 15 male
and 15 female undergraduates. These judges rated the initial set of cartoons by selecting
anchors on a 5-point Likert type scale: “not at all humorous”, “no dark humor at all”, “a
little bit dark”, “dark humor”, and “very dark humor”. No definition of dark humor was
given to participants for the pretest. Eighteen cartoons with the highest scores in the “no
dark humor at all” category were selected for the nondark humor condition. Similarly, 18
cartoons with the highest scores in the “very dark humor” category were selected for the
dark humor condition. All other cartoons stimuli were excluded from the experiment. The
nature of the humor (dark vs. nondark) was administered in a counterbalanced order
across sessions.
Apparatus
The present study followed the structure of Web-based experiments. These allow for
randomization, the dynamic creation and display of questionnaires, and the automatic
recording of responses. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were used to manage the site’s
presentation and the dynamic interactions with participants (for participants’ judgments
and the presentation of the humorous cartoons) were scheduled with JavaScript. The
management of the dynamic pages (randomized presentation of slides for each
participant, retrieval and recording of responses) was programmed in Hypertext
Preprocessor (PHP), a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially
suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML. Besides managing the
experiment, the software (“Humor-one”) provided a counterbalanced sequence
presentation. The four dimensions (surprise, incongruity, comprehension and funniness)
were randomly presented.
Cartoon Judge Measure. To assess the differences between dark and nondark humor,
we asked participants to rate each cartoon on four variables. To control for the meaning
of participants’ ratings, each dimension was defined as follows:
- Surprise: extent to which the situation depicted in this cartoon is surprising;
- Comprehension: extent to which the situation depicted in this cartoon can easily be
identified as a humorous one;
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- Incongruity: extent to which the situation depicted in this cartoon is unbecoming or
unseemly;
- Funniness: extent to which the situation depicted in this cartoon is funny.
Procedure
Participants were seated 70 cm in front of a personal computer and were randomly
assigned to the dark or the nondark humor condition. Upon arrival, information about the
course of the experiment appeared on the computer screen. In the first part, each
participant viewed one of the two subsets of 18 slides, displayed in a random order on a
600x 800 pixel computer screen. Each image remained on the screen for 6 s. Beforehand,
the participant had been given the following instructions: “You will be shown a sample of
cartoons. You just have to look carefully at each one.
Immediately after viewing all the humorous cartoons in the sample, each cartoon was
presented again one by one and participants were instructed to “rate each cartoon as
honestly as you can on four dimensions” (Surprise, Incongruous, Comprehension and
Funniness). The response format for each dimension was a 4-point scale anchored by
clicking with the left mouse button on “definitely not”, “not”, “slightly yes”, and
“definitely yes”. These anchors were assigned numerical values of 1-4, respectively, for
scoring.
Results
Gender Differences on Humor Judgment
For each participant, ratings on each of the four judgment dimensions were
aggregated across cartoons. To test the differences between women and men’s ratings, we
explored each judgment dimension (Surprise, Incongruity, Comprehension and
Funniness) separately. A 2 (Gender) × 2 (Humor type) ANOVA was made for each
rating.
Results revealed that regardless of gender, there was a significant main effect of
Humor type on Surprise ratings, F(1, 296) = 11.13, MSE = 3.15, p < .001, η²p = 3.6%.
This reflected the fact that dark humor cartoons were rated as more surprising (M = 2.37;
SD = 0.54) than nondark ones (M = 2.17; SD = 0.65). Results concerning surprise ratings
also indicated that Gender effect was not significant, F(1, 296) = 0.24, ns. Moreover,
interaction between Humor type and Gender was no significant, F(1, 296) = 0.40, ns. For
Incongruity ratings, results showed a main effect of Humor type F(1, 296) = 21.30, MSE
= 9.13, p < .0001, η²p = 6.71%. Dark humor cartoons (M = 1.98; SD = 0.68) were judged
by both men and women to be more incongruous than nondark ones (M = 1.63; SD =
0.65). There was no significant effect of Gender on Incongruity ratings, F(1, 296) = 0.55,
ns. However, the Humor type × Gender interaction was significant, F(1, 296) = 9.04,
MSE = 3.87, p = .0028, η²p = 2.96%, indicating that only women judged the dark humor
cartoons to be more incongruous than the nondark ones. This result was confirmed by
Tukey’s (HSD) post-hoc test for women nondark vs. women dark humor, p < .0001.
ANOVA’s results on the Comprehension rating showed a main effect of Humor type,
F(1, 296) = 12.92, MSE = 3.29, p < .001, η²p = 4.18%, with higher scores for nondark
humor cartoons (M = 3.06, SD = 0.49) than for dark ones (M = 2.85; SD = 0.53). Gender
effect was not significant, F(1, 296) = 0.93, ns. There was a significant Humor type ×
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Gender interaction, F(1, 296) = 4.10, MSE = 1.04, p = .0439, η²
p
= 1.36%. This
interaction reflected the fact that the women judged the nondark humor cartoons to be
more comprehensible than the dark humor ones. This result was confirmed by Tukey’s
(HSD) post-hoc test for women nondark vs. women dark humor, p < .0001. For funniness
ratings, ANOVA’s results revealed a main effect of Humor type, F(1, 296) = 17.13, MSE
= 4.72, p < .0001, η²
p
= 5.47%, with higher scores for nondark humor cartoons than for
dark humor ones. Gender effect was not significant on Funniness ratings, F(1, 296) =
1.03, ns. There was also a significant interaction between Humor type and Gender, F(1,
296) = 14.19, MSE = 3.91, p < .0001, η²
p
= 4.57%. Women judged nondark humor
cartoons (M = 2.45; SD = 0.49) to be funnier than dark ones (M = 1.97; SD = 0.55; p <
.001, Cohen’s d = 0.92). Thus, these results provided some evidence that only women
judged nondark humor cartoons to be different from dark humor ones, at least regarding
these four dimension of humor judgment (Figure 1).
Figure 1
Means of Four Ratings (surprise, incongruity, comprehension and funniness) for the
Two Humor Conditions (dark vs. nondark) and for Men and Women
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Gender Differences on Funniness Rating
Since gender differences was a key variable in our study, it was crucial to examine for
both women and men if funniness could be explained by the same predictors (Surprise,
Incongruity, Comprehension) as regard to Humor type. To do so, we conducted a
hierarchical regression analysis by comparing a first additive model (M1) where only
main effects (Gender, Surprise, Comprehension and Incongruity) were entered with a
second multiplicative model (M2) where only the following second-order interactions
were added (Gender × Surprise, Gender × Comprehension and Gender × Incongruity).
Hierarchical Regression Results for Nondark Cartoons
Additive Model (M1). First, we conducted an additive model, with Funniness rating as
dependent variable and Gender, Surprise, Comprehension and Incongruity as predictors.
Results showed that the significant predictors for Funniness ratings were
Comprehension (β = 0.24, F = 3.3, p < .01) and Surprise (β = 0.46, F = 6.4, p < .001).
Multiplicative Model (M2). This model was aimed to examine to what extent Gender
significantly interacts with the four predictors, therefore the following interactions terms
(Gender × Surprise, Gender × Comprehension and Gender × Incongruity) were added to
the model.
Results showed that the only significant predictors was Surprise (β = 0.40, F = 3.88, p
< .001).
Models Comparison. The comparison of both R-squared values did not show a
significant difference between the two models (AICM1 = 190.02, R² = 31.9% vs. AICM2 =
193.98, R² = 32.8%, p = .58, ns). Thus, for nondark humor cartoons the interaction
between Gender and the three predictors was not relevant to explain the Funniness
ratings.
Hierarchical Regression Results for Dark Cartoons
Additive Model (M1). Likewise, we conducted an additive model for dark humor
cartoons. Results indicated that the significant predictors of Funniness ratings were
Gender (β = 0.22, F = 2.94, p < .01), Incongruity (β = 0.19, F = - 3.07, p < .01),
Surprising (β = 0.33, F = 4.26, p < .001) and Comprehension (β = 0.41, F = 5.81, p <
.001).
Multiplicative Model (M2). This model was aimed to examined to what extent Gender
significantly interacts with the four predictors, therefore the following interactions terms
(Gender × Surprise, Gender × Comprehension and Gender × Incongruity) were added to
the model.
Results showed that the significant predictors were Incongruity (β = 0.35, F = - 4.11,
p < .001), and Comprehension (β = 0.53, F = 5.77, p < .001). Moreover, interaction
between Gender and Incongruity was significant (β = 0.34, F = 2.91, p < .01). Interaction
between Gender and Surprise was also significant (β = 0.29, F = 1.99, p < .05).
Models Comparison. The comparison of both R-squared values showed a significant
difference between the two models (AICM1 = 191, R² = 17.8% vs. AICM2 = 172.36, R² =
15.4%, p < .001). Thus, for dark humor cartoons the interaction between Gender and the
three predictors was relevant to explain funniness ratings. In order to examine the
proportion of the criterion variance associated with the predictor a semipartial correlation
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coefficient was calculated. Results indicated that multiplicative model explain almost
32% (r = 0.32) more variance than additive model. Thus, for dark humor cartoons it is
relevant to take into account Gender factor to determine funniness predictor.
Intercorrelations Results
In order to properly interpret the regression, intercorrelations among the four ratings
were conducted, in men and women separately. Because, the intercorrelations between
Gender and predictor factors of Funniness rating were significant only for dark humor,
we decided to report only the intercorrelations for dark humorous material.
Results, indicated that for men, Funniness ratings were positively correlated with
Comprehension rating (r = 0.307, p < .01) and Surprising rating (r = 0.483, p < .01).
Whereas for women, the Funniness rating for dark humor cartoons was positively
correlated with the Comprehension rating (r = 0.529, p < .01) and negatively correlated
with the Incongruity rating (r = - 0.362, p < .01).
Discussion
In the present study, we investigated whether gender influences the perception of dark
and nondark humorous cartoons on the following humor characteristics, Surprise,
Incongruity, Comprehension and Funniness. Further, we examined which of these
variables predicted the extent of funniness perception in relation to gender differences
across both humorous conditions.
Results revealed an effect of gender on all humorous characteristics except of the
rating of surprise. Contrary to our prediction, surprise was found to be influenced only
by the nature of the cartoons, with dark humor cartoons being perceived as more
surprising than nondark ones. Women, compared to men, have been shown to be more
influenced by cruelty and social norms transgression (Herzog et al., 2006) due to their
more affectionate nature and higher arousal feelings (Briton & Hall, 1995). Nevertheless,
the results of the present study do not provide evidence for gender differences on the
experience of surprise triggered by the perception of humorous incongruity.
However, gender differences were found. Indeed, the nature of humor cartoons
modulated the Incongruity, Comprehension and Funniness ratings only for women and
not for men. Women rated dark humor cartoons as being more incongruous, less
comprehensible and less funny than men did. Hence, women appear to be more sensitive
to the transgression of social norms that subtends dark humor cartoons. These gender
differences may reflect the more general way in which gender is expressed in social
interactions (Crawford, 2003). According to Crawford (2003), “gender [refers] to a
system of meanings that operates at individual, interactional and social structural levels
(p.1416). These findings are consistent with a gender-based social categorization. Our
participants’ gender-appropriate behavior reflected the fact that men perceive cartoons
and other “aggressive” humorous situations to be funnier than women do (Jorgensen,
Quist, Steck, Terry, & Taylor, 2008). Because women are expected to be kind, friendly,
and tenderhearted, they are likely to react to specific forms of humor, such as dark
humor, in a different way from men. In fact, Barrick, Hutchinson, and Deckers (1990)
have shown that women were influenced by the amount of pain suffered by the character
targeted in a humorous situation and thus perceived aggressive humor as less funny then
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219
men who did not show this response pattern. Moreover, our findings raise questions
about effective gender differences with regard to the social-structural theory. Do men and
women truly perceive humorous cartoons in a different way or do they simply behave in
accordance to culture beliefs and roles? The fact that our results indicated significant
interactions between Gender and Humor type on specific humor characteristics appears to
indicate that gender differences in behavior are stressed by social structures (Hyde,
2007). Nevertheless, gender differences are not only explained by social structure.
According to Kret and de Gelder (2012) the difference between men and women may be
due to biological elements such as genetics factors, hormones or cerebral networks.
Gender was also shown to influence which of the humor characteristics tested in our
study predicted the extent of funniness of the cartoons. Consistent with Herzog et al.’s
(2006) results for nondark humor cartoons Comprehension and Surprise ratings were
significant predictors of funniness across men and women. However, gender was found
to mediate the funniness predictors in the case of dark humor cartoons. For men, cartoons
were perceived as funny if they were highly comprehensible and surprising,
irrespectively of the nature of humor. Conversely, for women dark humor cartoons were
perceived as funny only if they were highly comprehensible and with low level of
incongruity, indicating that the humorous potential of dark humor decreased if the
incongruity deviated from the social, moral or ethical norms. These findings appear to in
line with Goel and Dolan (2007), who have argued that the social appropriateness of a
situation is a strong one predictor of humor appreciation even though they failed to
demonstrate any gender differences.
In conclusion, our findings provide an extension to Sul’s cognitive model (1972). We
clearly show that the humorous potential of a situation is not only dependent on the
incongruity-resolution process but also on the very nature of such incongruity as well as
the gender of the recipient. The gender differences observed in dark humor perception –at
least as measured in the current study - confirm the impact of inter-individual variability
on the appreciation of specific forms of humor (Galloway, 2010; Lourey & McLachlan,
2003; Martin, Pullik-Doris, Larsen, Gray, & Weir, 2003; Ruch & Carrell, 1998; Samson
& Gross, 2012; Zeigler-Hill & Bresser, 2011), and perhaps on the expression of the
different humorous behaviors.
Nevertheless, this study did not allow us to examine emotional characteristics of the
participants and study the relation between perception of dark humor and individual
variables such as emotional intelligence. Because dark humor may trigger particular
emotional reaction, it would be interesting to identify the emotional and affective lexicon
used by participants to express their feelings about dark cartoons and examine if men and
women express in different way their feelings about this specific form of humorous
situation.
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... On peut aussi noter que Cunningham et Derks (2005) expliquent la faiblesse de l'appréciation de situations comiques jugées peu claires ou trop complexes par l'effort cognitif que leur traitement impose lors de l'analyse de l'écart entre le cadre situationnel et la chute. Aillaud (2012) ainsi qu 'Aillaud et Piolat (2012) ont aussi constaté que les hommes et les femmes apprécient différemment l'humour noir. Par exemple, pour les femmes se sont les dessins jugés comme les moins incongrus qui sont estimés être les plus drôles. ...
... Il peut aussi en rire tout en éprouvant de la honte, de la gêne en raison de son caractère inconvenant (Hemenover & Schimmack, 2007). Ainsi, l'humour -surtout quand il est qualifié de noir (Aillaud & Piolat, 2012), de malsain (Herzog & Anderson, 2000 ;Herzog & Karafa, 1998), de dégoûtant (Hemenover & Schimmack, 2007), d'agressif (Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray & Weir, 2003 ;Martin, 2007) -provoque des émotions souvent mixtes (rire et autre émotion de valence négative) ou uniquement des émotions de valence négative. Aillaud (2012), en demandant aux participants d'expliciter leurs émotions à la suite de la présentation de dessins soit d'humour conventionnel, soit d'humour noir, a pu mettre en évidence un net écart entre les émotions positives pour les premiers (amusement, joie, bien-être) et négatives pour les seconds (dégoût, angoisse, malêtre). ...
... Plusieurs recherches ont mis en évidence que cette évaluation de la thématique des blagues a des conséquences particulièrement importantes sur le niveau d'appréciation de la blague. Ainsi, les contenus transgressifs tels que ceux exploités dans l'humour malsain (Herzog & Bush, 1994 ;Herzog & Karafa, 1998), dans l'humour dégoûtant (Hemenover & Schimmack, 2007) ou encore dans l'humour noir (Dolitsky, 1986 ;Aillaud & Piolat, 2012) peuvent provoquer des réactions affectives négatives. ...
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Full-text available
Selon Suls (1972) l’humour met en scène une incongruité qui pro-voque la surprise. La résolution de cette incongruité provoqueraitle rire. L’objectif de cette synthèse est de souligner que la théoriede Suls (1972) est insuffisante, car elle ne permet pas d’identifiersuffisamment les différentes opérations cognitives et la palette desémotions qui en découle. Cette synthèse comporte quatre parties.La première présente le modèle de Suls (1972) et les recherchesqui le soutiennent. La deuxième partie présente certains résultatsqui ne peuvent être interprétés dans le strict cadre de la théoriede Suls (1972). La troisième partie présente les travaux sur lesémotions associées au traitement de l’humour. Dans la dernièrepartie, certains des résultats majeurs des expériences présentéessont regroupés en un modèle procédural afin d’orienter les futuresétudes vers l’analyse des relations entre les traitements cognitifs etles émotions associées lors de la compréhension de l’humour.
... On peut aussi noter que Cunningham et Derks (2005) expliquent la faiblesse de l'appréciation de situations comiques jugées peu claires ou trop complexes par l'effort cognitif que leur traitement impose lors de l'analyse de l'écart entre le cadre situationnel et la chute. Aillaud (2012) ainsi qu 'Aillaud et Piolat (2012) ont aussi constaté que les hommes et les femmes apprécient différemment l'humour noir. Par exemple, pour les femmes se sont les dessins jugés comme les moins incongrus qui sont estimés être les plus drôles. ...
... Il peut aussi en rire tout en éprouvant de la honte, de la gêne en raison de son caractère inconvenant (Hemenover & Schimmack, 2007). Ainsi, l'humour -surtout quand il est qualifié de noir (Aillaud & Piolat, 2012), de malsain (Herzog & Anderson, 2000 ;Herzog & Karafa, 1998), de dégoûtant (Hemenover & Schimmack, 2007), d'agressif (Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray & Weir, 2003 ;Martin, 2007) -provoque des émotions souvent mixtes (rire et autre émotion de valence négative) ou uniquement des émotions de valence négative. Aillaud (2012), en demandant aux participants d'expliciter leurs émotions à la suite de la présentation de dessins soit d'humour conventionnel, soit d'humour noir, a pu mettre en évidence un net écart entre les émotions positives pour les premiers (amusement, joie, bien-être) et négatives pour les seconds (dégoût, angoisse, malêtre). ...
... Plusieurs recherches ont mis en évidence que cette évaluation de la thématique des blagues a des conséquences particulièrement importantes sur le niveau d'appréciation de la blague. Ainsi, les contenus transgressifs tels que ceux exploités dans l'humour malsain (Herzog & Bush, 1994 ;Herzog & Karafa, 1998), dans l'humour dégoûtant (Hemenover & Schimmack, 2007) ou encore dans l'humour noir (Dolitsky, 1986 ;Aillaud & Piolat, 2012) peuvent provoquer des réactions affectives négatives. ...
Article
Full-text available
According to Suls (1972), humor relies on the simultaneous perception of a situation from the perspective of two self-consistent but normally incompatible frames of reference, namely incongruity. The subsequent resolution of the incongruity triggers positive emotional states such as mirth. The aim of the present question review is to highlight that Suls’ theory, though crucial, is insufficient, because it does not sufficiently allow to identify the various assessment processes and the range of emotion that may arise. The present question review is based on four parts. The first part presents the Incongruity-Resolution's model and the supporting research. The second presents four sets of results, which cannot be interpreted in the narrow framework of Suls’ theory. The third part presents empirical research on emotion, highlighting the importance of surprise, as well as positive and negative emotions triggered by humor process. Finally, in the fourth part, we propose a cognitivo-emotional model established on the main results described in this article in order to both complete Suls’ theory and to promote the study of the relationship between the cognitive and emotional aspects of humor.
Book
Research on humor is carried out in a number of areas in psychology, including the cognitive (What makes something funny?), developmental (when do we develop a sense of humor?), and social (how is humor used in social interactions?) Although there is enough interest in the area to have spawned several societies, the literature is dispersed in a number of primary journals, with little in the way of integration of the material into a book. Dr. Martin is one of the best known researchers in the area, and his research goes across subdisciplines in psychology to be of wide appeal. This is a singly authored monograph that provides in one source, a summary of information researchers might wish to know about research into the psychology of humor. The material is scholarly, but the presentation of the material is suitable for people unfamiliar with the subject-making the book suitable for use for advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses on the psychology of humor-which have not had a textbook source.
Article
One hundred and twenty-five college students rated a total of 74 jokes, chosen by stratified sampling, on funniness and on 13 other scales suggested by humor theories. Highly similar factor structures were found with two sets of jokes. Ratings of surprise, resolution, and originality correlated strongly with funniness and helped define a factor on which funniness ratings loaded. Scales pertaining to painfulness, anxiety, or importance of joke topic were positively correlated with funniness but defined a factor essentially independent of it. Partial correlations suggested that these scales were related to funniness through their common relationship with incongruity and resolution scales. Ratings of how much a joke made subjects “feel free” correlated much more highly with ratings of incongruity and resolution than with ratings of painfulness, anxiety, or importance of joke topic. Results were interpreted as providing support for an incongruity-resolution theory of humor, and for the interdependency of affective factors with incongruity-resolution mechanisms.