How Do You Define Humor?

Humor is both a form of entertainment and a means of coping with difficult or awkward situations and stressful events. Although it provokes laughter, humor can be serious business. From the witty to the absurd, humor can help with bonding, releasing tension, attracting a mate, putting rivals in their place, and keeping a child amused. A good sense of humor can even protect your heart health and give your immune system a boost. 

But there is also a dark side to humor when it is hostile, antagonistic, degrading, or aggressive, or when it displays a sense of superiority. This is often the case with ethnic or racist jokes and sexual humor that is sometimes referred to as “locker room talk.” While it may be good to laugh at oneself from time to time, the hardships, shortcomings and imperfections of others have long been fodder for amateur and professional comedians alike.

What Does a Sense of Humor Reveal?

There are as many different functions and styles of humor as there are variations on the old light bulb joke. And there are as many variations on what comedians will say and do to provoke laughter as there are different types of people who tend to laugh at specific types of jokes.

Gender sometimes plays a role in what people consider funny. For instance, research shows men tend to appreciate dark, aggressive, and satirical humor more than women, while women have more appreciation for sentimental comedy. At the same time, both men and women prefer comic wit over satirical or sarcastic humor.


Cognition, Personality

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