Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientific research on sense of humour sheds light on psychological profiles

Is it possible to scientifically measure someone’s sense of humour? Are there universally good or bad jokes that make people laugh no matter their gender, profession or cultural background? These are some of the questions answered by the doctoral thesis Sentido del humor: construcción de la escala de apreciación del humor (Sense of humour: building of the appreciation of humour scale), carried out by Hugo Carretero Dios, researcher in the department of Social Psychology and Methodology of Behavioural Science at the University of Granada (Universidad de Granada []).

This study, directed by researchers Cristino Pérez Meléndez and Gualberto Buela Casal, is the first work in Spain stemming from Psychology aimed at measuring people’s sense of humour to analyse the psychological variables related to humour. Carretero Dios analysed more than 1,500 people between the ages of 18 and 80 and a similar number of men and women.

This study focused on the following types of humour: sexual humour, black humour, humour degrading to men, humour degrading to women, simple humour and complex humour. The study provided the first scientifically approved evaluation instrument in Spain to evaluate humour appreciation. Moreover, it helped to improve other instruments used in other countries.

Generational change

Carretero Dios observed a generational change in the women’s preferences to the different types of humour. “There has been change in women’s values and roles in our society,” says Carretero Dios. “In people over 45-50, we observed that both men and women laughed more at jokes degrading to women than those degrading to men”. At the same time, both men and women showed more rejection to jokes degrading to men.

However, among the participants between 18-25 years old, the trend was different and men and women had different reactions. Men laugh more at jokes degrading to women and reject those degrading to men. By contrast, women laugh more at jokes degrading to men and reject those degrading to women. Indeed, this trend is more pronounced in women.

Could these findings show a change in educational values or even a new pattern in the roles played by women? According to Carretero Dios, “humour is useful to study the predominant values of a specific society, and is also a powerful instrument to show cultural trends (beliefs, actions, etc). We only need to remember the conflict caused by the Mohammed cartoons last year, in which humour clashed with religion.”

There is no 'universal humour'

One of the conclusions of this study was that the different personalities of people help to differentiate specific humour preferences. “Consequently, there are no universally good or bad jokes — humour depends on the person,” says Carretero Dios.

Contrary to what we would expect, “a particular person’s momentary state of mind in a humourous situation, such as on hearing a joke, does not imply that the person finds that particular situation funny,” explains Carretero Dios. A person’s taste in humour “is rather an intellectual or aesthetic question, emotion or state of mind being more related to physiological and behavioural factors of sense of humour than an opinion of what we think is funny.”

Humour in hospitals

Carretero Dios is the president of the Spanish Cultural Association "Titiritas: Humor y Salud" (Titiritas: humour and health), which works with hospitals and aims at bringing humour to these centres to make this context more human and see the influence of this humour in different parameters. This association has been awarded best non-profit youth organisation in the Andalusian region by the city of Granada. Moreover, it receives funding from the Area of Culture of the Andalusian Institute of Youth. Recently, this association participated in a study that analysed the impact of humour on the behaviour of psychiatric patients in an acute unit. This study was chosen by the American association HumorLab as one of the four most important studies on an international level on sense of humour in 2006.

The results of this thesis were recently presented at the 'International Humour Conference', sponsored and organised by the International Society of Humor Studies, the world's leading scientific association on humour. The results were also published in prestigious journals such as the International Journal of Humor Research (the most important scientific journal in the world on the study of sense of humour), Psicothema and Análisis y Modificación de Conducta.

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>