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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

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Volume 21, Issue 3


Expectations and perceived humor

David J. Wimer / Bernard C. Beins
Published Online: 2008-09-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/HUMOR.2008.016


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.

Keywords:: Believability; group size; humor appreciation; joke ratings; persuasion

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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 347–363, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/HUMOR.2008.016.

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