Humor as a threat-coding mechanism

Edward Greenberg

Abstract


The integration of humour’s classical theories such as relief, superiority, and incongruity suggest that the differences and patterns in what we find funny are largely dependent on attaching an “explicably safe” meaning to novel entities. It is argued that humour is a substantial organising influence in human socialisation and personal threat perception. Built on such work as Caleb Warren and A. Peter McGraw’s notion of humour in explicated ambiguity, Tom Veatch’s paradox of humour as a “normal” violation, and V.S. Ramachandran’s False Alarm Theory of humour, an integrational theory is developed and tested against a variety of hypotheses associated with the core findings of classical humour research.


Keywords


humour; evolution; safety; ambiguity; appraisal

Full Text:

VIEW FULL TEXT

References


Aharoni, R. (2018). ‘Shifting from meaning to its carrier: A common denominator for three strains of humor’. European Journal of Humour Research 6 (3), pp. 13-29.

Aranzadi, J. (2011). ‘The possibilities of the acting person within an institutional framework: Goods, norms, and virtues’. Journal of Business Ethics 99 (1), pp. 87-100.

Attardo, S. & Raskin, V. (1991). ‘Script theory revis(it)ed: Joke similarity and joke representation model’. International Journal of Humor Research 4 (3/4), pp. 293-348.

Berger, P., Bitsch, F., Nagels, A., Straube, B., & Falkenberg, I. (2018). ‘Personality modulates amygdala and insula connectivity during humor appreciation: An event-related fMRI study’. Social Neuroscience 13 (6), pp. 756-768.

Braniecka, A., Hanć, M., Wołkowicz, I., Chrzczonowicz‐Stępień, A., Mikołajonek, A., & Lipiec, M. (2019). ‘Is it worth turning a trigger into a joke?: Humor as an emotion regulation strategy in remitted depression’. Brain and Behavior 9 (2), pp. 1-12.

Brommer, J. (2000). ‘The evolution of fitness in life-history theory’. Biological Reviews 75, pp. 377-404.

Chen, Q. & Jiang, G. (2018). ‘Why are you amused: Unveiling multimodal humour from the prototype theoretical perspective’. European Journal of Humour Research 6 (1), pp. 62-84.

Couder, O. (2019). ‘Problem solved?: Absurdist humour and incongruity-resolution’. Journal of Literary Semantics 48 (1), pp. 1-21.

Critchley, S. (2002). On Humor. Routledge: London.

Davies, S. (2011). ‘Bob, Little Jim, Bluebottle, and the three stooges’. Sophia. 50, pp. 265-268.

Dionigi, A. & Canestrari, C. (2018). ‘The use of humour by therapists and clients in cognitive therapy’. European Journal of Humour Research 6 (3), pp. 50-67.

Engelthaler, T & Hills, T. (2018). ‘Humor norms for 4,997 English words’. Behavior Research Methods 50 (3), pp. 1116-1124.

Fredrickson, B. (2001). ‘The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions’. American Psychologist 56 (3), pp. 218-226.

Gervais, M. & Wilson, D. (2005). ‘The evolution and functions of laughter and humor: A synthetic approach’. The Quarterly Review of Biology 80 (4), pp. 395-430.

Hale, A. (2018). ‘“I get it, but it’s just not funny”: Why humour fails, after all is said and done’. European Journal of Humour Research 6 (1), pp. 36-61.

Hardesty, D. & Barden, W. ‘The use of expert judges in scale development: Implications for improving face validity of the measures of unobservable constructs’. Journal of Business Research 57, pp. 98-107.

Harper, D. (2019). ‘stooge (n.)’. Retrieved April 26, 2019 from https://www.etymonline.com/word/stooge.

Izard, C. (2009). ‘Emotion theory and research: Highlights, unanswered questions, and emerging issues’. Annual Review of Psychology 60, pp. 1-25.

James, A. (2014). ‘Humour as resistance: Disaster humour in post-9/11 United States’. European Journal of Humour Research 2 (3), pp. 28-41.

James, C. (2018). ‘The neurological research on laughter: Social context, joys, and taunts’. Israeli Journal for Humor Research 7 (1), pp. 8-16.

Kramer, E. (2011). ‘The playful is political: The metapragmatics of internet rape-joke arguments’. Language in Society 40 (2), pp. 137-168.

Kulka, T. (2007). ‘The incongruity of incongruity theories of humor’. Organon F 14 (3), pp. 320-333.

LeDoux, J. (2000). ‘Emotion circuits in the brain’. Annual Review of Neuroscience 23, pp. 155-184.

Lench, H., Flores, S., & Bench, S. (2011). ‘Discrete emotions predict changes in cognition, judgement, experience, behavior, and physiology: A meta-analysis of experimental emotional elicitations’. Psychological Bulletin 137 (5), pp. 834-855.

MacCormack, J. & Lindquist, K. (2019). ‘Feeling hangry? When hunger is conceptualized as emotion’. Emotion 19 (2), pp. 301-319.

Marone, V. (2015). ‘Online humour as a community-building cushioning glue’. European Journal of Humour Research 3 (1), pp. 61-83.

Martin, A. (2007). The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach. Burlington: Elsevier Academic Press.

Mathews, L. (2016). ‘Role of humor in emotion regulation: Differential effects of adaptive and maladaptive forms of humor’. New York: City University of New York PhD thesis.

Meyer, J. (2000). ‘Humor as a double-edged sword: Four functions of humor in communication’. Communication Theory 10 (3), pp. 310-331.

Morreall, J. (1983). “VI. Humor and emotion’. American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (3), pp. 297-304.

Morreall, J. (2009). Comic Relief. Malden: John Wiley and Sons.

Morreall, J. (2015). ‘Is humourous amusement an emotion?’. Israeli Journal for Humor Research 4 (2), pp. 6-11.

Niedenthal, P. (2007). ‘Embodying emotion’. Science 316 (5827), pp. 1002-1005.

Nijholt, A. (2018). ‘“All the world’s a stage”: Incongruity humor revisited’. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, pp. 1-34.

Olin, L. (2016). ‘Questions for a theory of humor’. Philosophy Compass 11 (6), pp. 338-350.

Oring, E. (2019). ‘Oppositions, overlaps, and ontologies: The general theory of verbal humor revisited’. International Journal of Humor Research ahead of print.

Ortega, M. (2015). ‘Humour in colloquial conversation’. European Journal of Humour Research 3 (1), pp. 22-40.

Ott, K. & Schweizer, B. (2018). ‘Does religion shape people’s sense of humour? A comparative study of humour appreciation among members of different religions and nonbelievers.’ European Journal of Humour Research 6 (1), pp. 12-35.

Perks, L. (2012). ‘The ancient roots of humor theory’. Humor 25 (2), pp. 119-132.

Polimeni, J. (2016). ‘Commentary piece: Jokes optimise social norms, laughter synchronises social attitudes: an evolutionary hypothesis on the origins of humour’. European Journal of Humour Research 4 (2), pp. 70-81.

Polimeni, J. & Reiss, J. (2006). ‘The first joke: Exploring the evolutionary origins of humor’. Evolutionary Psychology 4, pp. 347-366.

Proyer, R. (2013). ‘The well-being of playful adults: Adult playfulness, subjective well-being, physical well-being, and the pursuit of enjoyable activities’. European Journal of Humour Research 1 (1), pp. 84-98.

Ramachandran, V. (1998). ‘The neurology and evolution of humor, laughter, and smiling: The false alarm theory’. Medical Hypotheses 51, pp. 351-354.

Raskin, V. (1985). Semantic Mechanisms of Humor. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.

Revi, R. (2014). Understanding obscenity and offensive humour: What’s funny?’. European Journal of Humour Research 2 (3), pp. 98-114.

Romero-Sánchez, M., Carretero-Dios, H., Megías, J., Moya, M., & Ford, T. (2017). ‘Sexist humor and rape proclivity: The moderating role of the joke teller gender and severity of sexual assault’. Violence Against Women 23 (8), pp. 951-972.

Rus, V. (2017). ‘A multimodal analysis of conventional humorous structures on sensitive topics within rural communities in Romania’. European Journal of Humour Research 5 (1), pp. 19-35.

Scott, S., Young, A., Calder, A., Hellawell, D., Aggleton, J., & Johnsons, M. (1997). ‘Impaired auditory recognition of fear and anger following bilateral amygdala lesions’. Nature 385, pp. 254-257.

Smith, P. (2002). ‘’When critics disagree: Recent approaches to Oscar Wilde’. Victorian Literature and Culture 30 (2), pp. 613-625.

Solomon, C. (1996). ‘Are the three stooges funny? Soitanly!’, in Higgins, D. (ed.), Aesthetics in Perspective, San Diego: Harcourt Brace and Company, pp. 604-610.

Suslov, I. (1992). ‘A computer model of “sense of humor”. I. General algorithm”. Biofizika 37 (2), pp. 318-324.

Tabacaru, S. & Lemmens, M. (2014). ‘Raised eyebrows as gestural triggers in humour: The case of sarcasm and hyper-understanding’. European Journal of Humour Research 2 (2), pp. 11-31.

Takovski, A. (2018). ‘Extending ethnic humor theory: Genuine vs. functional ethnic joke scripts’. European Journal of Humour Research 6 (2), pp. 60-80.

Tan, A., Metsälä, E., & Hannula, L. (2014). ‘Benefits and barriers of clown care: A qualitative phenomenographical study of parents with children in clown care services’. European Journal of Humour Research 2 (2), pp. 1-10.

Tapley, R. (2013). ‘On Morreall: A failure to distinguish between play and humor’. The Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (1/2), pp. 147-162.

Thomas, J. (2015). Working to Laugh: Assembling Difference in American Stand-Up Comedy Venues. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Tripathy, M. (2018). ‘Interpersonal act at workplace through discreet use of humor’. Israeli Journal for Humor Research 7 (2), pp. 64-78.

Üngör, U. & Verkerke, V. (2015). ‘Funny as hell: The functions of humour during and after genocide’. European Journal of Humour Research 3 (2/3), pp. 80-101.

Veatch, T. (1998). ‘A theory of humor’. International Journal of Humor Research 11 (2), pp. 161-216.

Veatch, T. (2013). ‘Veatch’s Theory of Bliss’. August 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2019 from http://tomveatch.com/innersurrender.html.

Viana, A. (2017a). ‘Humour and laughter as vestiges of evolution’. European Journal of Humour Research 5 (1), pp. 1-18.

Viana, A. (2017b). ‘Dualities in humor: Incongruity meets ridicule’. Israeli Journal for Humor Research 6 (1), pp. 7-38.

Waisbergerová, T. (2018). ‘Laughing at robots: synthesising humour and cyber-paranoia in portrayals of artificial intelligence in Welcome to Night Vale’. European Journal of Humour Research 6 (3), pp. 1-12.

Warren, C. & McGraw, A. (2016). ‘Differentiating what is humorous from what is not’. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 110 (3), pp. 407-430.

Weeks, M. (2016). ‘Commentary piece: The enigma of solitary laughter’. European Journal of Humour Research 4 (3), pp. 76-87.

Westbury, C., Shaoul, C. Moroschan, G., & Ramscar, M. (2016). ‘Telling the world’s least funny jokes: On the quantification of humor as entropy’. Journal of Memory and Language 86, pp. 141-156.

Wilkins, J. & Eisenbraun, A. (2009). ‘Humor theories and the physiological benefits of laughter’. Holistic Nursing Practice 23 (6), pp. 349-354.

Yang, Z., Fu, D., Qi, Y., Zheng, Y., Li, Q., & Liu, X. (2019). ‘Humor affects fairness considerations in the gain and loss contexts’. Frontiers in Psychology 9, pp. 1-8.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2020.8.1.greenberg

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Publication ethics and malpractice statement