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Cheerfulness, Seriousness, and Humor

  • By: Jennifer Hofmann & Willibald Ruch
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Researchers have claimed that humor involves a non–bona fide (rather than bona fide) mode of communication, and people need to process and consume humor in a playful (rather than serious) frame of mind. While habitually serious people will be less likely to process humor, people in a cheerful mood will be more ready to laugh or be amused and people with a cheerful temperament will have a lower threshold for smiling and laughter and getting into a cheerful state. Further, there is the claim that profound and mature humor is based on the presence of both cheerfulness and seriousness. There is ample evidence that cheerfulness and seriousness (but also bad mood, as a further marker of humorlessness) as states and traits should play a role ...

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