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Evolutionary Explanations of Humor

  • By: Gil Greengross
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

The aim of evolutionary explanations is to highlight aspects of behavior that are deeply rooted in humans. Evolutionary explanations of humor focus on the adaptive value of humor and laughter based on known evolutionary forces, namely natural selection and sexual selection. Over millions of years of evolution, humor has been shaped to serve advantageous functions for surviving and reproduction, the two key features of any trait facilitated by evolution. This entry explains why there is strong evidence that humor has an evolutionary basis and how humor helps humans survive and reproduce. It also reviews the most common evolutionary theories that explain the function of humor.

How Do We Know That Humor Evolved?

Researchers have been studying the evolutionary adaptations behind many human attributes and behaviors for decades. ...

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