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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.660
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.059

CiteScore 2017: 1.27

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.415
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 1.228

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Volume 26, Issue 2


The role of social context in the interpretation of sexist humor

Jared Alan Gray / Thomas E. Ford
Published Online: 2013-05-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0017


An experiment supported our hypotheses about the relationship between the social context in which sexist humor is delivered and the adoption of a non-critical humor mindset to interpret it. First, a professional workplace setting implied a local norm that is more prohibitive of sexist jokes than the general societal norm, whereas a comedy club implied a local norm of greater approval of sexist jokes. Second, offensiveness ratings revealed that participants were less likely to adopt a non-critical humor mindset to interpret sexist jokes delivered in a professional workplace setting and more likely to do so in a comedy club setting, compared to a setting governed by only the general societal norm. Finally, meditational analyses revealed that participants used the local norm of acceptability of sexist jokes to determine whether they could interpret the jokes in a non-critical humor mindset.

Keywords: sexist humor; humor mindset; social norms

About the article

Jared Alan Gray

Jared A Gray is an associate research analyst at Service Management Group. He produces customer satisfaction research for thirty domestic and international companies. He is also interested in gamification. He received his master's degree in experimental psychology at Western Carolina University in 2011.

Thomas E. Ford

Thomas E. Ford is a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University. He received his Ph.D. in psychology (social psychology) from University of Maryland in 1992. His research interests include the role of disparagement humor in promoting expressions of prejudice and the relationship between humor and coping with stressful events.

Department of Psychology, Western Carolina University, Killian Building, Room 301, Cullowhee, NC 28723

Published Online: 2013-05-10

Published in Print: 2013-05-20

Citation Information: Humor, Volume 26, Issue 2, Pages 277–293, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0017.

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