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Reception of Humor

  • By: Christian F. Hempelmann
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

The reception of humor can theoretically range from very negative to neutral to very positive. Different dimensions have been identified that may extend from neutral to positive (e.g., funniness), from neutral to negative (e.g., aversion), or in both directions from the neutral pole (e.g., affiliation [positive] vs. aggression [negative]). Most psychological theories assume that some degree of surprise is part of the reception of humor. The reception of humor leading to overt reactions can in turn have an effect on the person generating it, should he or she be present at the time of reception and not removed, such as authors of written or drawn humor are.

Although they are hard to quantify, notions of cognitive complexity have been related to humor comprehension or failure to ...

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