This study examines the relationship between trait Neuroticism and appreciation of humor structure (incongruity-resolution and nonsense humor). Higher levels of Neuroticism are associated with increased anxiety, and more anxious people are known to dislike novel situations more than less anxious individuals do. Given that nonsense humor is an instance of a novel state of affairs, it was predicted that increases in Neuroticism would be associated with a decreased preference (indicated by funniness ratings) for nonsense humor compared to humor in which the incongruity is fully resolved. Results obtained from a total of 107 participants (34 males and 73 females) supported that prediction. It is argued that these results, as well as those which indicate associations between humor structure preferences and various other personality constructs, can be accounted for by reference to an individual's trait and/or state arousal levels. Implications of the findings for theories of humor are examined.
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