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Development of Humor

  • By: Margaret Semrud-Clikeman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

A sense of humor is believed to be important for healthy development, socially and emotionally. Many theorists have suggested that humor serves a social function, including enhancing relationships, increasing or maintaining group cohesion, relieving tension, saving face, and expressing aggression in a socially acceptable way. When humor is used appropriately it improves communication, provides an enjoyable interaction, and leads to further social experiences. Humor can also be used to express views that are otherwise difficult to communicate. This entry discusses how children develop a sense of humor, how disabilities influence individuals' understanding of humor, how humor affects health and coping with illness, and the regions of the brain that are involved in humor.

For children, humor is developed over time and elaborated during adolescence and ...

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