It is commonly assumed that there is a strong inverse relationship between humor and depression. Thus, if one is very depressed, they will experience little humor. Conversely, those showing lots of humor cannot be depressed. This popular belief is reiterated in numerous self-help books, Internet sites, and blogs, with humor often being cast as the antithesis of depression. Psychiatric writings reinforce this view by proposing that an ancillary characteristic of depression is a diminished humor response. Those with depression lack the motivation and positive affect to engage in humorous interchanges.

It has been further suggested that humor is a natural antidote or treatment for depression. Anecdotal reports of well-known individuals who have fought depression with humor abound in the popular media, along with lists of humor-oriented ...

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