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Sensation seeking and the enjoyment of structure and content of humour: Stability of findings across four samples


Ruch, Willibald (1988). Sensation seeking and the enjoyment of structure and content of humour: Stability of findings across four samples. Personality and Individual Differences, 9(5):861-871.

Abstract

The role of sensation seeking in the realm of enjoyment of humour was investigated. It was hypothesized that the personality trait sensation seeking (SS) is able to predict both, the structure and content of jokes and cartoons. Seven hypotheses were derived and tested for four samples comprising a total of 448 Ss. The hypotheses were related to both components in appreciation of humour, funniness (representing the positive feelings induced by humour) and aversiveness (representing the negative feelings). Experience seeking (ES) and boredom susceptibility (BS) were predictive of low appreciation of humour in which the punchline is mildly surprising and the surprise can easily be overcome by resolving the incongruity (i.e. incongruity-resolution humour). Furthermore, ES and BS were predictive of funniness and (low) aversiveness of humour in which the punchline is largely unpredictable and the incongruity can only partly be resolved or not resolved at all (i.e. nonsense humour). Disinhibition (DIS) was correlated with funniness and (low) aversiveness of sex humour. These correlations were especially high when the sexual content was embedded in the nonsense structure and when DIS was related to an index representing the content of humour only. Sensation seekers yielded lower aversiveness ratings to nonsense and sex humour whereas low disinhibition appeared to represent the tendency to find all kinds of humour aversive.

Abstract

The role of sensation seeking in the realm of enjoyment of humour was investigated. It was hypothesized that the personality trait sensation seeking (SS) is able to predict both, the structure and content of jokes and cartoons. Seven hypotheses were derived and tested for four samples comprising a total of 448 Ss. The hypotheses were related to both components in appreciation of humour, funniness (representing the positive feelings induced by humour) and aversiveness (representing the negative feelings). Experience seeking (ES) and boredom susceptibility (BS) were predictive of low appreciation of humour in which the punchline is mildly surprising and the surprise can easily be overcome by resolving the incongruity (i.e. incongruity-resolution humour). Furthermore, ES and BS were predictive of funniness and (low) aversiveness of humour in which the punchline is largely unpredictable and the incongruity can only partly be resolved or not resolved at all (i.e. nonsense humour). Disinhibition (DIS) was correlated with funniness and (low) aversiveness of sex humour. These correlations were especially high when the sexual content was embedded in the nonsense structure and when DIS was related to an index representing the content of humour only. Sensation seekers yielded lower aversiveness ratings to nonsense and sex humour whereas low disinhibition appeared to represent the tendency to find all kinds of humour aversive.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1988
Deposited On:17 Apr 2013 15:12
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:45
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0191-8869
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(88)90004-9
Official URL:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0191886988900049

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