Humor is a form of play and involves the production or appreciation of events, statements, or stories, such as jokes, riddles, and comedy, that have an element of incongruity or surprise and yield a positive emotional experience, usually when the incongruity has been resolved. Humor plays an important role in social relations, in coping, and in psychological state throughout the lifespan. Humor draws on sophisticated representational capacities, and it is a uniquely human ability according to some theoretical proposals. Humor appreciation and production develop gradually over the first few years of life, with appreciation preceding production abilities. This entry identifies the cognitive requirements of humor, explores developmental changes in humor across the lifespan, and examines the social and emotional consequences of humor as well ...

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