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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 11, 2005

3 WD meets GTVH: Breaking the ground for interdisciplinary humor research

  • Christian F. Hempelmann and Willibald Ruch
From the journal HUMOR


The present paper describes an interdisciplinary effort, in which results based on the same material, but analyzed with tools from two different disciplines are brought together for mutual evaluation. The set of 70 jokes and cartoons from the 3 WD (Ruch 1995), which has been extensively studied psychologically for its affective properties, is analyzed linguistically for its internal morphology based on the General Theory of Verbal Humor— GTVH (Attardo and Raskin 1991). The correlations between the stimulus properties and their effects are discussed, as well as the relevance of these results for the respective theories and the disciplines that use them. Additional emphasis is placed on highlighting the problems and considerable benefits of such interdisciplinary research as the most apt approach to complex phenomena like humor. The results show that there is indeed significant overlap between stimulus properties as they can be distinguished linguistically and affective responses as they can be identified psychologically. Of the six GTVH categories, it is primarily script opposition, narrative structure, target, and logical mechanism that contribute to the separation of the three humor types with respect to effects on recipients. The results also suggest that initial and residual incongruity, as operationalized with the GTVH, are central cognitive aspects of humor with an impact on affective factors and, consequently, their distinction. While this may appear to be commonsensical results, their scientific reproduction is a major step forward, in this case for humor research.

Published Online: 2005-10-11
Published in Print: 2005-10-18

Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG

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