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The Rise And Fall Of Humor: Psychological Aspects

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The omnipresent feeling of humor is used as a balance among coping, social and personal well-being. Comedic statements related national tragedies are the most of focus to measure and analyze how responses change over time. The hypothesis that the monotonic time increases the humor experience but consistent with breaching humor theories. To create the perfect comedic comment, one must keep track of the amount of time after a tragedy that is deemed acceptable to say such jokes. The phrase, “Too soon?” refers saying satire jokes about a tragedy that, to others, is inappropriate and offensive, thus unfunny. However, telling a joke about a tragedy that occurred hundreds of years ago, the audience will not comprehend the meaning behind it because it barely holds relevance. Comedians must find that balance if they try to turn tragedies to entertainment. The results can influence psychologists to delve into citizen’s coping mechanisms and give signals (body language) to the differences between what is funny and what is not.

The benign violation theory provides an explanation to why psychological distance can be beneficial to comedy until its breaking point when comedy becomes stale as too time has progressed. To McGraw, “Theory proposes that humor arises when something that threatens a person’s well-being, identity, or normative belief structure (i.e., a violation) simultaneously seems okay, safe, or acceptable (i.e., benign; McGraw et al., 2012; McGraw & Warren, 2010; Veatch, 1998).” Humor is a psychological response whether it can be triggered in social interactions (verbal or nonverbal social cues) and entertainment purposes (funny movies, shows, music) is physically expressed in scales of laughter (from a chuckle to laugh), and joyous behavior. However, there is no universal characteristic to how comedy will make someone feels physically and mentally as people especially various cultures have their own set of morals and standards. Stand-up comedians and anybody who has a taste for satire humor experience melancholy ranging from family, and friends to national tragedies. Humans are capable to convert the feeling of grief and devastation from a traumatic event into a gateway for boosting their immune system and mental state. The Construal-Level Theory of Psychological Distance theorizes that people’s capabilities of thinking about the past, present, and future can represent various forms of psychological distance which falls into place with responses to tragedy-based humor. Psychological distance can affect a person’s response to in four ways. Temporal distance means the amount of time the person perceives between present time, and the focused moment. Social distance is the determining how much space is between more than one group of people. Spatial distance the distance among or between events occurring simultaneously. Hypothetical distance means the possibility of something happening. Each form of psychological forms are crucial for the responses the person announcing the jokes will receive. However, we struggle to find evidence that confirms whether distance benefits or negatively affects humor. The benign violation theory mentions two alternatives a scenario can negatively impact comedy. Since tragedies tend to be improbable hurricanes are the most acceptable choice because it can be detected and announced through social media and television before wreaking havoc among citizens. In this experimental design, “A total of 1,064 online panelists (Mage ¼ 31.1; 407 female) recruited from the Amazon Mechanical Turk network participated in the study” (McGraw) and one hundred participants were each placed in ten time zones: the weeks and days during the hurricane from October through February. The procedure requires an online survey, participants must answer three short messages that were posted on Twitter by the username is @HurricaneSandy. Then record the extent they perceived these tweets as a threat with the scale ranging from one (no threat) to seven (extreme) and included their demographic status and location to a certain distance in miles. The results were divided into categories: Humor, offensiveness, mediation by offensiveness and irrelevance and confusion. The findings for, “Humor” are divided into two panels. Panel one represents Hurricane Sandy’s landfall (October-November 2012), and the participants receive news about the death and destruction to homes and lives. Nine days after landfall and the news, humor related to the incident declined. Panel two is the aftermath (November-February 2012), after the participants witnessed the horrors of the storm responded to the tweets negatively. Over time, the once stigmatized jokes about Sandy shifted to more of an acceptable comedic trope. The results prove the hypothesis is correct on the benign violation theory that distance has a positive effect on humor. The scale of “Offensiveness” increased after Sandy’s landfall, and a decrease in offensiveness after a joke about Sandy rose to its peak and ending the storm.

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The study based on the effectiveness distance has on humor is not valid (“measuring what it is supposed to measure”) and reliable (“producing consistent measurements”) because the procedures are consistent with what the hypothesis wants to prove. The dependent variable being the humor ranked from one to seven during and after Hurricane Sandy. However, the researchers fail to connect the participants’ age and gender into their results with geographic locations and humor. For an experiment, a control group is absent the researcher’s biases affected the outcome of the results by not including tweets that were “boring and irrelevant” without the participants’ consent. If I were to invent a follow-up study to increase the experiment’s reliability and validity is to conduct an experiment with a similar concept except rather than a nature related tragedy, it will be an unexpected event. Participants will be in a longitudinal single-blind study for a span of ten years. In those two years, whenever their tragedy struck, they will report the incident to the researcher then immediately say a joke and hang up. Weeks later, call the participants to follow-up on the tragedy then go to tell a joke. Finally, contact the participants to meet at the lab to complete a form that includes a humor rank from zero to ten for the day after the tragedy and the phone call and free write their reactions for both sessions. Finally, a debriefing. After reviewing the results and completing the discussion, we can compare whether the datum in this data corresponds to the hypothesis that increased time can lead to effective humorous responses. The authors of the study did employ ethical safeguards but did not mention it in the method section, so I cannot confirm whether the participants did anything novel. The study authors correctly interpreted their findings by separating the results into sections, “Humor” and “Offensiveness.’ By using the website (http://www.distancefromto.net/), they were able to calculate geographical distance among the participant’s locations. The scatter plot paints a clearer picture of the relationship between period during the storm, and their humor levels.

The benign violation theory explains to why psychological distance can be beneficial to comedy until its breaking point when comedy becomes staler as too time has progressed. Humor is a psychological response whether it is triggered in social interactions (verbal or nonverbal social cues) and entertainment purposes (funny movies, shows, music) is physically expressed in scales of laughter (from a chuckle to laugh), and joyous behavior. The Construal-Level Theory of Psychological Distance theorizes that people’s capabilities of thinking about the past, present, and future can represent various forms of psychological distance which falls into place with responses to tragedy-based humor. Psychological distance can affect a person’s response to in four ways: Temporal, Social, Spatial and Hypothetical. The results prove the hypothesis is correct on the benign violation theory that distance has a positive effect upon humor. The scale of “Offensiveness” increased after Sandy’s landfall, and a decrease in offensiveness after a joke about Sandy rose to its peak and ending the storm.

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The Rise And Fall Of Humor: Psychological Aspects. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-rise-and-fall-of-humor-psychological-aspects/
“The Rise And Fall Of Humor: Psychological Aspects.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-rise-and-fall-of-humor-psychological-aspects/
The Rise And Fall Of Humor: Psychological Aspects. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-rise-and-fall-of-humor-psychological-aspects/> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2022].
The Rise And Fall Of Humor: Psychological Aspects [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Nov 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-rise-and-fall-of-humor-psychological-aspects/
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