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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.558
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.084

CiteScore 2018: 1.00

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.367
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.614

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Volume 21, Issue 3


Disparagement humor: A theoretical and empirical review of psychoanalytic, superiority, and social identity theories

Mark A. Ferguson / Thomas E. Ford
Published Online: 2008-09-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/HUMOR.2008.014


This research reviews the empirical and theoretical literature on disparagement humor and amusement. In particular, we ask, “Why is disparagement humor funny?” Three theoretical frameworks provide responses to this question: psychoanalytic theory, superiority theories, and social identity theory. Each framework suggests a distinct psychological mechanism that fosters amusement upon exposure to disparagement humor. The review presents the central theoretical propositions from each framework and assesses their empirical support. Based on this review, we suggest that social identity theory offers a promising new avenue for disparagement humor research. The review concludes by offering future research directions.

Keywords:: Disparagement humor; social identity theory; superiority

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Published Online: 2008-09-01

Published in Print: 2008-08-01

Citation Information: Humor - International Journal of Humor Research, Volume 21, Issue 3, Pages 283–312, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/HUMOR.2008.014.

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