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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

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Volume 26, Issue 3 (Jul 2013)


Autism-spectrum traits predict humor styles in the general population

Kimmo Eriksson
  • Corresponding author
  • Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Box 883, SE-72123 Västerås, Sweden
  • Stockholm University, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution,SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-07-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0030


Previous research shows that individuals with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism tend to have impaired processing of humor and laugh at things that are not commonly found funny. Here the relationship between humor styles and the broader autism phenotype was investigated in a sample of the general population. The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ) and the humor styles questionnaire (HSQ) were administered to six hundred US participants recruited through an Internet-based service. On the whole, high scores on AQ were negatively related to positive humor styles and unrelated to negative humor styles. However, AQ subscales representing different autism-spectrum traits exhibited different patterns. In particular, the factor “poor mind-reading” was associated with higher scores on negative humor styles and the factor “attention to detail” was associated with higher scores on all humor styles, suggesting a more nuanced picture of the relationship between autism-spectrum traits and humor.

Keywords: humor styles; autism-spectrum; theory of mind; social skill; attention to detail

About the article

Kimmo Eriksson

Kimmo Eriksson is a professor of mathematics at Mälardalen University and a guest professor at the Stockholm University Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. While a fan of humor, his main research interest is processes of cultural change.

Published Online: 2013-07-13

Published in Print: 2013-07-12

Citation Information: Humor, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0030. Export Citation

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