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Humorous Stimuli, Characteristics of

  • By: Andrea C. Samson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Humor comprehension and appreciation, the cognitive and affective responses to humor, respectively, are influenced by individual differences, such as personality characteristics, cognitive and social skills, and stimulus characteristics. Humorous stimuli may be characterized according to the content, type, and genre, as well as variables related to structure.

Stimuli Characteristics Related to the Content

Past research has considered content-related characteristics, focusing on the hostility of jokes, which range from benevolent and harmless (sometimes called “nonsense jokes,” not to be confused with nonsense humor, which is opposite to incongruity-resolution humor) to offending, aggressive, and hostile. This distinction is rooted in the tradition of humor theories that center on superiority and disparagement. An example of such superiority may be found in sexual/sexist humor, often considered offensive, and the sole content-related ...

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