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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 19, 2008

Measuring responses to humor: How the testing context affects individuals' reaction to comedy

  • G. Neil Martin , Sharon J. Sadler , Clare E. Barrett and Alison Beaven
From the journal HUMOR


Psychological studies of responses to humor employ a variety of different recording methods and modes of presentation, but few have addressed whether these methodological differences affect people's responses to comedy. In the present study, participants' expressive (laughter and smiling) and cognitive (ratings of funniness and enjoyment) responses to a popular British comedy program presented via videotape, audiotape, or in script form were measured. Behavioral response was recorded either covertly or overtly by a video camera. Mode of presentation significantly affected behavioral response: the videotape and the audiotape conditions generated significantly greater laughter and smiling than did the script condition. Although the presence of the camera was not regarded as obtrusive, its presence did inhibit laughter and depressed enjoyment (but not amusement). The paper suggests that research using humorous material should carefully consider the mode of presentation and the behavioral recording conditions employed.

Published Online: 2008-05-19
Published in Print: 2008-May

© 2008 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin

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