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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

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Volume 30, Issue 3


Punches or punchlines? Honor, face, and dignity cultures encourage different reactions to provocation

Kuba Krys / Cai Xing / John M Zelenski / Colin A Capaldi / Zhongxin Lin / Bogdan Wojciszke
Published Online: 2017-06-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2016-0087


Research on culture-related violence has typically focused on honor cultures and their justification of certain forms of aggression as reactions to provocation. In contrast, amusement and humor as the preferred reactions to provocation remain understudied phenomena, especially in a cross-cultural context. In an attempt to remedy this, participants from an honor culture (Poland), dignity culture (Canada), and face culture (China) were asked how they would react and how they would like to react to a series of provocative scenarios. Results confirmed that aggression may be the preferred reaction to provocation in honor cultures, while the preferred reaction to provocation in dignity cultures may be based on humor and amusement. The third kind of provocation reaction, withdrawal, turned out to be more complex but was most popular in dignity and face cultures. Furthermore, results confirmed that the way individuals think they would behave is more culturally diversified than the way individuals would like to behave.

Keywords: culture; honor; face; dignity; aggression; violence; provocation; humor; amusement


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-06-10

Published in Print: 2017-07-26

Parts of this research were supported by the National Science Centre grant 2011/01/N/HS6/04285 awarded to Kuba Krys.

Citation Information: HUMOR, Volume 30, Issue 3, Pages 303–322, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2016-0087.

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