Title

Expectations and perceived humor

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-2008

Abstract

Without an objective metric for identifying how funny humorous material "really" is, a person may rely on external information in evaluating the humor of a particular humorous joke. In two experiments, we examined the effect of expectations on participants' ratings of jokes. When participants received a message that jokes had previously been rated as either funny or unfunny, they rated the jokes accordingly. In addition, participants who were told less plausible messages about the jokes ("hysterically funny" or "horribly unfunny") tended to discount the messages and give ratings comparable to the control group. In a second experiment, we examined the effect of testing participants individually or in groups. As predicted from previous research, group effects, which may be social and emotional, did not influence participants' ratings of jokes. We discuss the findings in terms of the role of information in cognitive evaluation versus affective appreciation of humor. © Walter de Gruyter.

Publication Name

Humor

Volume Number

21

First Page

347

Last Page

363

Issue Number

3

DOI

10.1515/HUMOR.2008.016

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