International Society for Humor Studies Boston 2011 Conference

Conference Schedule

Pre-Conference Workshop: Laughter Yoga
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CGS 515

Title: Explorations into the Effects and Benefits of Laughter Yoga: A Workshop

Authors: Martin Lambert, Holy Names University & Jeffrey Briar, The Laughter Yoga Institute

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Over the last two decades, a growing body of research has come to demonstrate that regular engagement in humor-related activities promotes a number of psychological and physiological benefits, including stress and pain reduction, muscle relaxation, and improved functioning of the immune and cardiovascular systems of the body. Over this same period, a humor and health industry has emerged, focused largely on providing clients with methods for infusing humor into their lives so as to tap into these benefits and to improve their overall well-being. For many of these programs, the underlying goal is to teach participants a variety of playful humor-related techniques for dealing with life stresses and promoting positive affect. Among these programs, Laughter Yoga, originally developed in India by Madan Kataria in 1995, holds a unique position in that it attempts to tap into the benefits found for humor, not by developing humor skills, such as humorous reflection or joke-telling, but rather by engaging participants in self-induced laughter in group settings on a regular basis. Within such gatherings, known as a laughter clubs, participants enact simple pantomimes while laughing, and just as importantly, while maintaining eye contact. Although the creators of laughter yoga suggest that sustained upbeat social laughter alone should promote the health benefits associated with humor, we explore specifically in this workshop how eye gaze and shared attention may play important evolutionary roles for transforming initially feigned interpersonal laughter into natural laughter, and, in turn, for promoting the positive affect and health benefits associated with the humor and play. As part of this exploration, we will provide an overview of how psychological science can inform our understanding of how laughter yoga works, and within this context, how different laughter yoga exercises, based on their ability to mutually engage participants through eye contact and shared attention, may vary in their effectiveness to promote positive affect. We also provide workshop participants the opportunity to experience a full laughter yoga session, and to experience first hand the immediate physical and psychological effects of laughter yoga.

Pre-Conference Workshop: YouTube Videos
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM CGS 511

Title: Testing Humor Theories Via Quantified Data: A Workshop on YouTube's Most-Viewed Comedy Videos

Authors: Kevin Nalty, Marketer, Author, and YouTube Comedian

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The goal of this workshop will be to analyze the most-viewed YouTube comedy videos (filtering "outliers") to determine if theories about comedy/humor are confirmed or challenged based on popular opinion. Kevin Nalty is a YouTube comedian who has been consulting in "viral video" for the past few years. He is the only prolific YouTube creator (seen more than 200 million times) who also is a career marketer. Currently he is also a product director at Johnson & Johnson. See his bio at

Opening Reception Presentation: Boston Based International Humor: The BOSTOONS Project
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Faculty Dining Room, George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave, 9th floor

Title: Boston Based International Humor: The BOSTOONS Project

Authors: Mario Barros, The BOSTOONS Foundation

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This paper gives an overview of the birth and development of the online humor magazine BOSTOONS themag! (, a joint effort in international humor carried out by a group of humorists from various countries. The paper provides examples of their works in the fields of cartooning, photography, and literary humor. It also discusses the conception and production of BOSTOONS 2010, the first Boston International Humor Festival, and the ideas that inspired the creation of The BOSTOONS Foundation.

Plenary: Presidential Address & Graduate Student Award Presentations
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM CGS Sleeper Auditorium
Chair: Patrice Oppliger, Boston University

Title: Presidential Address: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime: The Joke as Art

Authors: Elliott Oring, California State University, Los Angeles & President of the International Society for Humor Studies

Title: Graduate Student Award Presentations

Authors: Audrey Adams, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Gillian P. Freeman, University of Massachusetts Amherst & Tracey Platt, University of Zurich

Poster Session
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM CGS 505
Chair: TBA

Title: What's so funny? Using a multidisciplinary approach to understand sitcom success

Authors: Jennifer Juckel, Murdoch University

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The sitcom genre is one of the most enduringly popular, yet we are still unable to define what it is, specifically, that keeps viewers tuning in. In fact, audiences themselves are not sure why they embrace a particular program, with research indicating behaviour often contradicts intention. Furthermore, numerous studies (Tamborini, Bowman, Eden, Grizzard, & Organ, 2010; Vorderer, Klimmt, & Ritterfeld, 2004) have highlighted the problematically intertwined relationships between the physiological, cognitive and affective processing systems that contribute to research shortcomings. However, we can look to research to identify reliable components and use measures from a variety of disciplines to offer insight into complementary audience responses. This study aims to reduce this information to a combination of key measures that best describe, and potentially predict, the components comprising successful sitcoms. Audience response data will be collected using the current top sitcoms across the four main US networks: Modern Family (ABC), The Office (NBC), Family Guy (FOX), and Two and Half Men (CBS).

Title: Institutional contraints and the development of a program in humor studies at the University of Saskatchewan

Authors: Karl Pfeifer, University of Saskatchewan

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I am involved in an initiative here at the University of Saskatchewan to develop courses and programing in humor studies and I am looking for information (suggestions, experiences) from individuals who have had been involved in such programs elsewhere. This poster will give (1) a brief description of the kind of humor studies courses and programs we hope to develop, (2) solicit input about best practices, pitfalls, suggestions, etc., and (3) provide contact information and a "pocket" for business cards.

Humor Appreciation
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 527
Chair: Mina Tsay, Boston University

Title: Differences in Gender Identity and Humor Appreciation

Authors: Bruce H. Glenn, Arizona State University & Larry W. Barron, Grand Canyon University

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In our study, we try to answer the question: Do males prefer to read short jokes and one- liners while females prefer to read longer funny stories? Studies indicate women prefer to tell and listen to funny stories, especially when among other women. Men, on the other hand, seem to like humor of a much shorter duration. Studies suggest that when men are in male-only groups they like to tell and hear jokes in a competitive way, causing jokes to be exchanged quickly. This often results in short jokes, including one-liners. It would seem likely that such sex differences would hold true not only in performing and listening to humor but also in reading humor. When we added to this our own anecdotal evidence of how some of our own male college students resisted long reading assignments, we wondered if males would indeed show a significant aversion to reading longer funny stories and a corresponding preference for one-liners. We gave college students at Arizona State University in Tempe and Grand Canyon University in Phoenix ten samples of humor to read. Five were funny vignettes of four to six sentences ending in a single punch line while the other five were pithy one-liners. Results both confirmed some major elements of our hypothesis while providing a few surprises.

Title: Two Shadows to One Shape: Jokes as Gesture in The Roaring Girl

Authors: Jesse Dorst, University of Minnesota

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To date, analyses of jokes have primarily treated them as examples of an underlying process; be it psychological or social. Methodologically, researchers tend to select a set of jokes that have structural similarities or share something in their content and, through analysis of these common traits, develop a broad theory about the function of all jokes. What is lost in this approach are the richness and nuance of particularity, especially historical particularity. In Means Without End, Giorgio Agamben proposes the concept of gestures as singular acts which expose the means of their own production. By choosing to approach jokes as gestures, that is to say inextricably bound to the context of their production, they gain new significance. They become moments of cultural rupture which reveal attitudes, structures and hierarchies implicitly accepted in the culture from which they spring. In the case of a historical investigation, jokes have the potential to make intelligible information not accounted for in traditional resources. However, like any historical source, jokes aren't transparent. Removed from the cultural context that produced them, jokes are preserved in archival collections which lend themselves more readily to broad theorization than narrow, specific investigation. To account for this the joke must also be treated as a collected object in the way Walter Benjamin addresses the issue in Arcades Project. In this paper I make a case for the benefit and necessity of looking at jokes as gestures and objects by applying the theoretical apparatuses that govern these categories to the jokes in Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton's The Roaring Girl, a comedy from early seventeenth century. This play contains jokes that gesture toward a fluid conception of gender, something often not accounted for in many analyses of the period and one which could have great implications in any investigation of the Early Modern era. My paper attempts, through a close examination of Dekker and Middleton's jokes, to reimagine gender perceptions of the age and legitimate jokes as sources of historical evidence.

Title: Investigating the Role of Morality in Entertainment Media: How do Comedic and Dramatic Representations of Immoral Actions Influence Enjoyment?

Authors: Mina Tsay, Boston University & K. Maja Krakowiak, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

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Disposition theory (Zillmann, 2000; Zillmann & Cantor, 1977) suggests the role of morality in its association with the appeal of characters and our enjoyment derived from narratives. In such a case, enjoyment is a function of both character disposition and the gratifications sought from witnessing the justification of character actions (Raney & Bryant, 2002). A wealth of empirical support suggests that "moral disengagement" or the assessment of antisocial behaviors of characters as being morally "acceptable" or "excusable" serves as a means for individuals to attain greater enjoyment from their media experiences (Klimmt, Schmid, Nosper, Hartmann, & Vorderer, 2006; Raney 2004, 2006). Moral disengagement has been found among viewers who witness even actions among morally ambiguous characters (Krakowiak & Oliver, in press; Krakowiak & Tsay, 2011; Tsay & Krakowiak, 2011). Early work in the area of enjoyment has documented the motivation among individuals to seek media for pleasure or hedonic value (Zillmann, 1988, 2000). However, growing support has shown the prevalence of counter-hedonic media choices (Knobloch, 2003; Oliver, 1993; Oliver & Bartsch, 2010). In this case, the blend of both positive and negative affective states can also be deemed gratifying. Oliver and Bartsch (2010) found that audiences reported greater enjoyment of light media fare, whereas they appreciated more serious media fare. Bearing in mind the nature of a narrative (comedic vs. tragic), this research endeavors to investigate morality in entertainment media. Humor and tragedy are suggested to play pivotal roles in the way immoral character actions are evaluated. Such cognitive and emotional judgments of characters due to the light-hearted or serious nature of media fare are expected to elicit varying levels of enjoyment responses among viewers. Implications for effective narrative formats that facilitate pleasurable audience experiences are discussed.

Title: Speaker Personality

Authors: LaReina Hingson, Purdue University

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This presentation showcases a tentative project in humor research, towards a theory based on the speaker's personality. Branching off of audience-centered personality research (e.g. Carroll, Amy. "Historical Views of Humor" in Raskin [2008] 303-332), and speaker-focused social group research (e.g. blondes can make dumb blond jokes because they are a member of the same category as the joke's victim), the question arises as to whether some humor is successful primarily because of the particular speaker's personality and less so because of the particular audience member's personality. That is, are there some jokes that speaker A can say successfully that speaker B cannot, based on the speaker's personality? For example, let us say speaker A has an extroverted personality, is generally "nice and caring," always smiling, and he teases someone about their new job as a grocer by saying "Man, you've really moved up in the world, huh?" Let us now have speaker B give the same comment, likewise intended to tease the grocer, but speaker B has an introverted personality, is serious, rarely smiles, and instead of caring is sometimes "rude." Audience members may take speaker A's teasing as successful or not depending on their own personalities, but as a group they will likely respond to speaker B's teasing less favorably, either because they fail to recognize the attempt at humor (because B is normally so serious), or the humor of speaker B is seen as harsher than that of A, despite the fact that they said the same sentence. Alternatively, B might be able to deliver a pun more successfully than A because his serious personality sets the stage for the shock value of the joke, while A's personality is expected to deliver such commentary. This question presents a potentially new area of humor research, and participation and suggestions are welcome.

Humor Styles
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 505
Chair: Ursula Beermann, University of California, Berkeley

Title: Towards the development and validation of a scale to measure Self-Deprecating Humor

Authors: Maren Rawlings, Swinburne University of Technology

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Australians are renowned for their tendency to use deprecating humor about themselves, each other and their country. Previous research (e.g., Martin et al., 2003) demonstrated that there is a Self-defeating Humor Style, but qualitative exploration suggests that there is a style of self-deprecating humor commonly in use in Australia and appreciated elsewhere, that can be differentiated from the Self-defeating style of humor. For example, HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, declaimed at the 2010 Australia Day Dinner in London that he had had more than his fair share of being called a "Pommy B*tard" when in Australia and that it was "good for the character". Self-deprecating humor may be an expression of an invitation to play so that relevant personal information (through dissimulation) can be revealed without loss of face; or it may result from a desire not to be seen as a "Tall Poppy" (Feather, 1989). Australian politicians, for example, are believed by some to use self-deprecating humor to ingratiate themselves with constituents; for example, Prime Minister Gillard, "Go the rangas", quoted in the Woman's Day, 8/9/10 – she has auburn hair like an orang-utan. The aim of the proposed research is to develop, using exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic procedures, a scale of behaviours that are generally agreed by a sample from Australia and New Zealand, to describe self-deprecating humor. The discriminant validity of the scale will be examined, and the nature of the construct explored using established measures of humour and personality characteristics on a second sample.

Title: The Relation Between Humor Styles and Narcissism

Authors: William Hampes, Black Hawk College

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The research in the field of narcissism has shown that those high in that personality trait tend to feel entitled and special, crave to be the center of attention, are materialistic, have little concern for others, are manipulative and even aggressive when trying to gain the recognition and material goods they think they deserve, and can become aggressive when their inflated self-esteem is threatened. Since affiliative humor would allow them to be the center of attention and receive recognition, the first hypothesis was that narcissism and affiliative humor would be positively correlated. Because aggressive humor would allow those high in narcissism to express their aggressive tendencies and, at least in some contexts, allow them to be the center of attention and receive recognition, the second hypothesis was that narcissism and aggressive humor would be positively correlated. Finally, because those high in narcissism have an inflated self-esteem and those who use the self-defeating humor style tend to have low self-esteem, the third hypothesis was that narcissism and self-defeating humor would be negatively correlated. The Humor Styles Questionnaire and the Narcissistic Personality Inventory were given to 111 undergraduates. Pearson Product Moment correlations supported the first two hypotheses, but not the third. In addition the correlation between narcissism and self-enhancing humor was not significant. These results will be discussed in terms of the characteristics of those high in narcissism, especially their inflated self-esteem, and the nature of the adaptive (affiliative and self-enhancing) and maladaptive (aggressive and self-defeating) humor styles.

Title: Of money and funny: Does social class predict differences in humor style?

Authors: Ursula Beermann, University of California, Berkeley, Paul K. Piff, University of California, Berkeley & Dacher Keltner, University of California, Berkeley

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Individuals from lower social class backgrounds display increased altruism (Piff et al., 2010) and nonverbal signs of social engagement—e.g., more eye contact, increased laughter—in interactions (Keltner & Kraus, 2009), compared to their upper class, wealthier counterparts. But does social class shape the individual's sense of humor? Prior work suggests that social class differentiates people in terms of the humor they appreciate (e.g., Kuipers, 2006), and social status—though conceptually distinct from social class—influences teasing (Keltner et al., 1998) and humorous behavior in conversations (e.g., Robinson & Smith-Lovin, 2001). These findings suggest that upper and lower class individuals may show differences in their usages and styles of humor. In the current investigation, participants completed a series of measures, including the Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ, Martin et al., 2003) and the Coping Humor Scale (CHS, Martin & Lefcourt, 1983). We expect that lower class individuals will be more inclined to use humor as a tool for coping. Further, we expect that lower class individuals will report using more affiliative humor, whereas upper class individuals will report using more aggressive humor. Class-based differences in self-enhancing and self-defeating humor styles will also be analyzed. Finally, we will probe the interactive effects of social class, humor styles, and coping humor on certain life outcomes, including life satisfaction (e.g., Diener et al., 1985), social belonging (e.g., Walton & Cohen, 2007; Aron et al., 1992), and sociometric status (e.g., Anderson et al., 2000).

Title: Humor, virtue, and comical styles: An everyday perspective

Authors: Ursula Beermann, University of California, Berkeley & Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich

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While in many other disciplines humor has been referred to as potentially representing virtue (e.g., Bühler, 2007; Comte-Sponville, 2001; Morreall, 2010; Roberts, 1988), psychological research only spent little attention on the moral evaluation of humor. Moreover, it is not clear how humor could serve virtue in everyday life, and for which virtue this could be true. The current presentation focuses on the perspective of lay people's everyday lives. In the presented study, 48 participants provided ratings for each of six virtues identified as being ubiquitous by Dahlsgaard et al. (2005) as to how important they estimated the virtue and how capable they considered the virtue to be achieved by means of humor. Furthermore, they reported situations from their lives in which they were actually able to use humor in order to achieve any of the six virtues. For each of the reported situations, they indicated which of eight comic styles (Schmidt-Hidding 1963) they thought were used in the respective situation. Results suggested that humanity and justice were considered most important for their lives. In contrast to that, humanity and wisdom seemed to be the virtues most compatible with humor. However, approximately the same number of situations was reported for each of the six virtues. More benevolent comic styles such as fun or wit were used more frequently to achieve virtue than malevolent styles. But malevolent comic styles such as cynicism or sarcasm have been reported to be used disproportionally often for the achievement of justice.

Incongruity in Humor
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 511
Chair: Moira Smith, Indiana University

Title: The Ambiguity of Jokes

Authors: Moira Smith, Indiana University

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Incongruity theories arguably offer a sufficient explanation of the structure of ideas to be found in jokes, but they say nothing about what motivates humor. On the other hand, as usually applied aggression theories reduce the complexity of humor to just one of its elements. I suggest that we can arrive at a macro theory of humor by recognizing that incongruity operates not just in the structure of jokes, but also in the social and emotional contexts that give rise to them. Mary Douglas argued that "the experience of a joke form in the social structure calls imperatively for an explicit joke to express it." We have a joke in the social structure whenever the dominant pattern of relations is challenged by another, a situation that participants experience as incongruity—something that does not fit the currently salient pattern. I illustrate this social structuralist theory by reference to the form of practical joking that arises from and expresses the characteristic pattern of social relations found in barracks, dormitories, summer camps, and the like. Thomas Veatch's theory of humor (renamed the "benign violation theory" by McGraw et al.) locates the source of amusement in affective absurdity. I further suggest that jokes express not simple aggression, but ambivalence, which is incongruity on the emotional level. I illustrate this contention with reference to person-focused jokes, showing how practical jokers betray mixed feelings about those they target. Vernacular and academic discourses alike tend to explain away ambivalence, but I suggest that aggression and love are commonly mixed. This emotional incongruity gives rise to jokes that express but not necessarily resolve it. Thus the incongruity in joke morphology mirrors incongruity in the emotions of jokers (ambivalence) and in their social situation (ambiguity). Both are anathema to the rational mind, but jokes provide a safe arena to express and also enjoy these states. Any theory that seeks to explain away this fundamental incongruity of humor destroys what is trying to save.

Title: Measuring incongruity in register humour

Authors: Chris Venour, University of Aberdeen, Graeme Ritchie, University of Aberdeen & Chris Mellish, University of Aberdeen

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Many theories of humour claim that incongruity is an essential ingredient of humour, yet most research fails to construct clear and formal definitions of this concept. We seek to address this problem by creating a computer program which can quantify and measure a certain type of humorous incongruity found in register-based humour. The type of humorous incongruity we are focusing on involves clashes of tone between words in a text and we have been experimenting in building a semantic space in which distances between words reflect differences in their style or tone. If words from a joke containing incongruities of tone were plotted into such a space, distances between words would be relatively large. Whereas the distances between words taken from 'normal' text, where differences of lexical tone are less extreme, would be relatively small. To build a semantic space, we first of all hand-selected corpora which we believe show varying degrees of lexical formality (literariness, archaism etc.). Our algorithm then takes a text, such as a one-liner, and computes the frequency of each word in that text in each of the corpora. These frequencies represent a word's position in a multi-dimensional space and distances between words are computed. After experimenting with different kinds of spaces and distance metrics, an implementation of our algorithm was tested with the task of automatically distinguishing humorous texts from plain newspaper sentences, where it performed quite well. This work is currently in progress.

Title: Too Close for Comfort, or too Far to Care? Finding Humor in Distant Tragedies and Close Mishaps

Authors: A. Peter McGraw, University of Colorado at Boulder, Caleb Warren, Bocconi University, Lawrence E. Williams, University of Colorado at Boulder & Bridget Leonard, University of Colorado at Boulder

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"Humor is tragedy plus time." – Mark Twain Prominent humor theories and empirical evidence corroborate the compelling intuition that distance helps transform highly aversive situations into humorous ones (Apter, 1982; Hemenover, and Schimmack, 2007; Morreall, 2009; Wolff, et al. 1934). We account for the existing pattern of data but uniquely propose that the reverse occurs for less aversive situations. We derive our hypotheses from a theory that proposes humor occurs when a violation is simultaneously perceived to be benign (McGraw and Warren 2010; Veatch 1998). A violation threatens one's beliefs about how things should be. However, in order to be humorous the threat must also be seen as okay or acceptable. The theory suggests that either too much or too little threat can inhibit humor. Thus, we hypothesize that distance increases the humor perceived in tragedies (i.e., severe violations) by reducing threat, but closeness increases the humor perceived in mishaps (i.e., mild violations) by maintaining a sense of threat. Four experiments illustrate that the effect of distance on humor depends on the severity of the violation. Study 1: Getting hit by a car (tragedy) is funnier in the distant past, but stubbing a toe (mishap) is funnier in the recent past. Study 2: Accidentally donating a lot of money (tragedy) is funnier when it happens to a stranger, but accidentally donating a little money (mishap) is funnier when it happens to a friend. Study 3: A highly aversive photograph (tragedy) is funnier when ostensibly fake (i.e., digitally altered), but a mildly aversive photograph (mishap) is funnier when ostensibly real. Study 4: A highly aversive photograph is funnier when it looks farther away, but a mildly aversive photograph is funnier when it looks closer. Mark Twain correctly observed that it is difficult to find humor in highly aversive situations when you are too close for comfort. We show that it is also difficult to find humor in slightly aversive situations when you are too far away to care. Our findings present a significant challenge for prevailing theories of humor and suggest ways to improve the production and consumption of humor.

Title: Non-incongruity humor and non-humorous incongruity: From Chan dialogues to Giora's Relevance Requirement and Attardo's Principle of Least Disruption

Authors: Chun-yen Lai, Providence University, Taiwan

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As pointed out in Lai (2006), Chan masters use verbal irony, puns, and witty remarks in their verbal interactions with disciples. In addition to these humor categories, there are other types of Chan texts, which become the subject of this study: (1) those which are playful but not humorous, (2) texts which contain incongruity but do not evoke humorous effects, and (3) non-humorous texts that contain incongruity. Specifically, this paper explores Chan texts that contain rhyming, game playing, and play with presuppositions. The analysis aims at finding out the factors that lead to non-humor in incongruous texts. It is also found that humor can emerge in its simplest form – a mere negation of presupposition – so long as relevance exists. This provides evidence for Giora's (1991) Relevance Requirement and Attardo's (2000) Principle of Least Disruption.

Literature I
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 515
Chair: Lorene M. Birden, Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Dijon

Title: Better with Age? Mark Twain's Humor in the "Dark Phase" of His Life

Authors: Holger Kersten, University of Magdeburg

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Mark Twain started his literary career as a journalist who made a name for himself as a writer of humorous articles and hoaxes in Western newspapers. When his backwoods sketch "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published by a New York paper, his reputation as the "Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope" spread beyond the regional confines of the American West. His first book, The Innocents Abroad, firmly established him as America's major comic writer. Despite the fact that his particular style gained widespread popularity, he was reluctant to accept the role of the humorist: Aware of the limited appreciation humor enjoyed in more sophisticated circles of American society, Twain referred to humor stories as "literature of a low order." Torn between his desire to appeal to a large audience and his ambition to more than a literary jester, Mark Twain attempted to develop and refine his writing in such a manner that his humor became more a tool of instruction than one of entertainment. It was never an end in itself, he saw it merely as "a fragrance, a decoration," a device that allowed him to teach and preach in the way he wanted. "If the humor came of its own accord and uninvited," he wrote in the final years of his life, "I have allowed it a place in my sermon, but I was not writing the sermon for the sake of the humor." As he entered the final phase of his creative career, Twain composed more of these "sermons" and was determined tell the harsh truth about American politics, about religion, and about what he called "the damned human race." He turned his eye upon violence and war, racial injustice, unfair distribution of wealth, and other social wrongs – all of which were topics that generated feelings of rage and disgust, reactions that are far removed from the pleasurable feeling that humor may bring about. This paper explores the late period of Mark Twain's literary career and attempts to shed light upon the ways in which humor informs the texts that have been called his great "dark writings."

Title: The Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues: gobbets of puke or pearls of wisdom?

Authors: John Parkin, University of Bristol

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Flaubert's Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues (Dictionary of received ideas) is a more than usually problematic text in that it is not known precisely how he intended to incorporate it into the second volume of his unfinished novel Bouvard et Pécuchet. Comments such as "I will finally state my way of thinking, breathe out my resentment, vomit my hatred" reveal that that he envisaged it as being a compendium of human stupidity, la bêtise having almost the status of a vice in his own thinking. However the fact of its remaining unpublished among Flaubert's textual debris only increases the freedom that the reader of any comic text necessarily enjoys. It is certainly intended to form a part, perhaps a major part, of the book his two eponymous heroes aim to compose as they return to their original activity as copy-clerks. As such, it can be read as an indictment not of them, but of the society on which they have finally turned their backs, for, as has often been argued by students of Flaubert, having initially set out to mock his heroes, he comes gradually and ever more clearly to sympathise with them. Specifically, he found their own efforts at acquiring universal knowledge to be a parody of his own efforts to equip himself to write the book that depicts them. Thus since we may, along with the author, have already rebelled against too condemning an appraisal of his protagonists, can we not be equally flexible in approaching the nonsense text which they seem from his notes determined to compile following their innocent attempts at intellectual emancipation within the different disciplines which its clichés and half-truths both represent and distort? If so the Dictionnaire can surely be enjoyed beyond the terms of Flaubert's restrictive though legitimate satire of contemporary culture. After all, popular wisdom has its own individual charm, offering a bonus of pleasure to those many of us who cannot be bothered to think too deeply.

Title: Mirror Image as Illusion in Paul Auster's The Book of Illusions

Authors: Lorene M. Birden, Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Dijon

My analysis of the novel will take on some of the aura of macabre humor. I will justify the humor of a book that begins with a plane crash and continues through an attempted blackmail, an attempted holdup, a death by bee sting, five attempted suicides and one successful one, two accidental murders and one possibly premeditated one. However, through all these tragic events and the heartbroken reactions of the characters to them there are two threads of humor, one obvious one and one more subtle one, which combine to give different shades of light in the story's darkness. David can be seen as a comic hero both through specific gestures and speech acts and through general considerations of the comic hero as a character capable of functioning in contingency.

Title: Farce and the Limit Situation: Choices and Constraints on Being Human

Authors: Miriam Chirico, Eastern Connecticut State University

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Farce exists as a hybrid genre within the field of comedy, as it is part literary script, part broad, physical humor. It is considered a "lesser subgenre" by some critics because it seemingly has nothing to say about the human condition. However, since playwrights such as Beckett, Sartre, and Ionesco explored the potential of farce to express the painful condition of human existence, it is possible to look at farce as representing the constrained circumstances that compel humans into precise and lucid self-definition. Drawing upon on the sociological premise that humans construct their identity through interactions with the environment, I propose that farce depicts a formation of human identity shaped by the constraining circumstances, what philosophers call the "limit situation." Different existentialist philosophers, such as Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger, define the "limit situation" as a situation where boundaries are imposed upon us or are brought about by our own actions. By recognizing those limits that are created by our own actions (i.e. guilt, history, or communication), we arrive at a realistic and dynamic depiction of human freedom. If human beings are free beings, yet must be limited by the certain tasks they perform or the roles they play, then the human being becomes truly defined as he or she recognizes the limit situation. I propose reading the limit situation into several farcical plays to discuss how human identity is shaped by constraining circumstances of farce, specifically its inextricable mechanical clockwork and its firm categorical division between private and public spheres. I will draw upon the farces of Molière, Michael Frayn, Alan Ayckbourn, and Tom Stoppard for this study, examining how the writers create limit situations for their characters that challenge their identities and self-definition. In other words, I propose arguing against the notion that farce's value as literature is limited and instead show that it does signify something about the choices that people make to define themselves more fully against the chaos of their world.

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 527
Chair: Rita Gunzelman, University MBA Professor

Title: Humor Loves Company: Workplace Humor and MBA Curricula

Authors: Rita Gunzelman, University MBA Professor

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The paper and presentation will share the outcome from a dissertation research study, completed in June, 2010, considering the significance of teaching MBA students how to benefit from appropriate application of humor in the workplace. The identifed problem is that MBA program soft skill core curricula do not prepare future employees to benefit from the use of humor in the workplace. In addition to a review of literature, an analysis of MBA program objectives and a review of MBA soft skills core course descriptions, a quantitative, descriptive, and a nonexperimental research methodology utilizing a customized, validated electronic survey was implemented. Descriptive statistical methods were applied to examine outcomes. Results indicated actual use and high appreciation of the benefits of humor in the workplace by both organizational practitioners and university academics. Data was gathered from random samples representing two populations: 1. ORGANIZATIONS: 1,239 Practitioners (CEOs, Executives, VPs), or 12 employees from each of the randomly sampled 104 organizations representing a total population of 635 companies listed as a Fortune 500 company in 2009, and/or the 100 Best Companies to Work per Fortune 2/2010 and/or the 50 world's most innovative companies per Fast Company 3/10 and/or the 50 Best Corporate Performers per Business Week 4/2009; and 2. UNIVERSITIES: 1,515 Academics (MBA Deans and/or Professors), or 15 employees from each of the randomly sampled 101 universities representing a total population of 427 AACSB USA Universities offering MBA programs. The paper will confirm the premise that people who use humor appropriately in the workplace provide value to themselves and to their organizations, and validate the notion that employees lack soft skills (one soft skill is humor). Problems will be identified suggesting employees need[ed] to learn about how best to benefit from workplace humor during their MBA education. Further analysis of MBA core curricula discovered no indication of humor included in MBA soft skill core curricula, imbalance between focus on soft and hard skills, and a disproportionate emphasis on teaching hard skills.

Title: Toward a contextual theory of organizational humor

Authors: Bill Vogler, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

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Humor is a unique aspect of human behavior. It offers researchers a chance to understand social relationships in the context of a nearly universal experience: the interpersonal connection that occurs as a result of laughter. This is not to say that all humor is positive. As a distinctly human dynamic, humor mirrors the social realities of dominance, oppression, and difference, as well as the social realities of connection, joy, and intimacy. Understanding organizational humor has powerful ramifications for contemporary workplaces, particularly nonprofit human services. It facilitates effective communication, eases workplace stress, and is generally considered a sign of positive leadership and organizational health. Humor can also reinforce negative power dynamics and lead to hostility, resentment, and charges of harassment or discrimination. Much research into humor in organizations adopts a highly functionalist approach, and accounts for effective or ineffective uses of humor in the workplace. This study, in contrast, is more contextual and attempts to describe the circumstances under which humor occurs. As such it necessarily accounts for dynamics of power, authority, gender, race, and inequality. The author uses a qualitative research approach to describe and understand various occasions and experiences of humor as they occur within select nonprofit human service settings.

Title: Humor in intercultural business contexts

Authors: Henri de Jongste, Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts

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Humor, as a form of play, does not convey direct, literal messages, and can therefore be seen as "high-context communication" (Hall), whose full meaning lies in the interplay between communication and context. Cultural research suggests that across cultures given contexts are assessed differently. This raises the question which elements of contexts are relevant to understanding humorous messages, and how across cultures, these elements might be seen differently. In literature on intercultural business communication, there are frequent warnings against the use of humor in foreign cultures. Potential misunderstanding is seen as a likely outcome and this might harm business relations. At the same time, humor is discussed as a bonding strategy which can ease communication and the establishment of good relationships. Two conditions seem to be relevant to the success of humor use in intercultural business contexts. Firstly, a joke must be intelligible for the audience in spite of different cultural backgrounds, and secondly, joking as such must be seen by all concerned as appropriate. Both conditions require shared contextual knowledge as well as a shared perspective on what is acceptable behavior in a given context. Context therefore is key to studying how humor might or might not work in intercultural business situations. Scollon and Scollon's so-called grammar of context is an attempt at developing a model of context that helps analyse in culturally neutral terms what constitutes a context, and can therefore serve as a basis to focus on the different perspectives of context that there might be across cultures. Applying Scollon and Scollon's grammar to business contexts and humor use can indicate how humor and context can interplay. The presentation aims at having a look at context models of intercultural communication to shed some light on possible differences in humor use across cultures and what might constitute a common ground in business contexts and can then serve as a basis for joking. The idea is to gain insight in the factors that might affect success or failure of humor use in intercultural business contexts.

Communication & Relationships
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 505
Chair: Amy Bippus, California State University Long Beach

Title: Friendship, Intimacy and Humor

Authors: Mordechai Gordon, Quinnipiac University

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A review of the literature in philosophy in the last twenty years indicates that relatively little has been written on the connection between friendship, intimacy and humor. To be sure, the issue of friendship has been dealt with quite a bit among philosophers dating all the way back to Plato's dialogue the Lysis and Aristotle who addressed this topic extensively in the Nicomachean Ethics. The subject of intimacy has not received as much attention among philosophers in comparison to friendship perhaps because this term has usually been associated with sexual encounters and relationships. Finally, humor has been getting more consideration in recent years from philosophers such as John Morreall, Thomas Nagel and Simon Critchley. Yet the connections between these three important human phenomena have seldom been seriously explored. One noticeable exception to this trend is Ted Cohen's book Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters, which argues effectively that many jokes tap into the beliefs, knowledge and feelings that the teller shares with the listener and the thereby create a sense of intimacy between the two. Still, Cohen's analysis is limited since it deals only with jokes and not with humor in general and because he does not really address the topic of friendship. Even the concept of intimacy, which constitutes the core of his argument about the import of joking for human existence, is taken for granted and never actually defined in his book. Thus, I would argue that there is a pressing need to investigate some of the potential connections between friendship, intimacy and humor. This paper is intended to begin to address the neglect of this topic among philosophers by focusing on some interesting aspects of the relationship between friendship, intimacy and humor. I begin my analysis by examining the different types of friendships while highlighting the particular kind of friendship that involves intimacy. Next, I take a close look at the issue of humor while distinguishing it from both joking and laughter. I then move to the heart of this essay which focuses on the question of how can humor enhance intimacy in friendship? In the final part of this paper, I briefly outline some important implications for both intimacy and friendship that can be gleaned from this study.

Title: Partners' agreement about humor frequency and style

Authors: Amy Bippus, California State University Long Beach & Norah E. Dunbar, California State University Long Beach

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A growing body of research has explored the role of humor as a communication strategy between partners in romantic relationships. However, much of that research has not considered actual humor usage, as perceived by partners themselves. This study used stimulated recall to assess actor and partner perceptions of humor styles used immediately following a discussion of a conflict topic. Specifically, we assessed the association between relationship satisfaction and humor usage, and the link between humor usage and assessment of the humor quality and conflict discussion outcomes. As such, this investigation expands upon prior research by capturing participants' own perceptions of humor, and their perceptions of the specific styles of humor used, and links these to conversational outcomes. Our sample consisted of 74 heterosexual couples who completed pre-interaction questionnaires, then were video-recorded while discussing contentious topics within their relationships. Individuals then were led to separate rooms to view a recording of their interaction, indicating each instance in which they or their partner used humor and what type (aggressive, affiliative, self-defeating, or self-coping). Participants then completed questionnaires assessing their perceptions of the interaction. We included both partner and actor variables in our analyses to account for nonindependence in our data. Controlling for their partner's relational satisfaction, individuals' satisfaction was significantly negatively associated with their own use of aggressive and self-defeating humor during the conflict discussion. Individuals' perceptions of their partners' humor quality was negatively predicted by their perceptions of their partners' use of aggressive humor and positively predicted by perceptions of partners' affiliative humor. In terms of outcomes of the conflict, after accounting for partners' perceptions of conflict progress, only individuals' perceptions of the frequency of their partners' use of self-defeating humor predicted their belief that they had made progress in the conflict. After accounting for partners' feelings of resentment after the conflict discussion, individuals' own resentment was predicted by perceptions of partners' use of aggressive humor and, inversely, by individuals' own use of affiliative humor. Our findings underscore the importance of considering both partners' perceptions of humor in context, and the communicative impact of different humor styles.

Title: Discursive Approach to Im/politeness Research and Humour: Theories of Identity and the concept of Face

Authors: Josiane Boutonnet, University of Wolverhampton

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Within the field of Pragmatics, the discursive approach to the study of im/politeness, which began with Eelen's (2001) groundbreaking monograph, has offered a coherent, though not unproblematic, framework for the study of im/politeness in discourse. In a previous paper (2008) I proposed to demonstrate that the way humour is interactionally achieved in informal conversational data could contribute to Arundale's (2006b) notion of interpretative relevance and to a theory of interpersonal communication. Whilst building on Arundale's Conjoint Co-Constituting Model of Communication, I have suggested (ISS10, Zurich) that insights from Im/politeness Theories (Bousfield, 2008) and the recent work done on Face (Arundale, 2009,2010, Haugh, 2010) can help us gain some insight into the way evaluations of humorous speech acts and the norms that underlie those evaluations can be co-constructed in interactions. With the help of authentic examples, I propose to analyse more data and demonstrate how humour researchers can benefit from current research in Pragmatics as well as in Identity Linguistics.

Literature II
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 511
Chair: Lorene M. Birden, Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Dijon

Title: Talking to the French About Humour: "L'Humour Anglais" and the Tradition of the Self-Conscious Novel

Authors: Will Noonan, Université Paris III

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>Abstract: While current English usage of the term "humour" covers the full range of phenomena associated with laughter and the comic, the narrower usage of the term in French tends to involve laughter directed not at others but back towards the self. Described by French commentators since the mid-Eighteenth Century as a quintessentially "English" cultural trait, this notion of reflexive humour can be compared to other theories including Freud's account of humour as the superego laughing back at the ego, or Albert Laffay's analysis of nonsense writing as humour directed back towards language. But it also offers a useful framework for thinking about the role of humour in literary texts, and in particular in the narrative structures of self-conscious or metafictional novels. This paper aims to examine the ways in which the notion of "l'humour anglais" is useful to the critical understanding of literary metafiction. While partly theoretical in focus, it will also discuss examples from the eighteenth-century classics Tristram Shandy and Jacques le Fataliste et son maître and from mid-twentieth-century works by Flann O'Brien and Raymond Queneau. The choice of texts is intended as a means of exploring the problems of discussing "English" and "French" approaches to self-conscious humour as well as the different ways in which metafictional narratives have tended to be classified over time. While recent accounts have tended to discuss literary reflexivity in terms of postmodern irony, this paper will contend that the sympathetic or affective dimension of humour offers a fruitful alternative analysis.

Title: Parody as Medium for Local and Global Social Networking

Authors: Ingrid Daemmrich, Drexel University

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Parody has been extensively examined as literature's sophisticated game to promote itself as an ongoing, dynamic activity (see Rose 1968; Hutcheon 1986; Hannoosh 1989; Norrick 1989 among others). By mocking established texts, parodists create new ones that can in turn be mocked by new texts. Less attention has been paid to parody's social networking capability of gathering writers and critics into both specific "humor communities" (Carrell 1997) and wider societies of mutual admiration, whose intent is to engage members in the diversion of making fun of texts and creating new ones. While once confined to a specific locale or the printed page, parody as social play has been let loose by modern technology that facilitates playing parodic games globally. A number of questions arise. Does parodic play fundamentally reorder Ferdinand Tönnies's (1887) distinction between the local community (Gemeinschaft) and broad society (Gesellschaft) by creating social networks of writers and readers as local as the basement of a fictitious Boston tavern or the pages of a Boston literary magazine and as global as the Internet? Do contemporary social networking sites such as interactive websites, Twitter, and YouTube present a radically different understanding of parody by erasing temporal and spatial boundaries? Or do the web-based communication tools simply extend the sociable pleasures of parody's traditional literary game-playing to ever new players on worldwide sites?

Title: Wot LARX: Dickens's Funny Moments in Light of Humor Theory

Authors: Michael O'Hea, Grant MacEwan University

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Charles Dickens is one of the funniest writers in the traditional canon of English literature. Enjoy re-experiencing some his most amusing passages from works including Pickwick Papers, Martin Chuzzlewit, and Great Expectations. We will investigate how humor theory can account for what's so amusing in these scenes. Is it possible that Dickens's humor is so unique that some passages cannot be accounted for by current theories of humor? The humour theory that the paper will apply will be dictated by the nature of Dickens's passages themselves, and I can tell you at this point that superiority theory and incongruity theory will have a place in the paper as will the linguistic theory of Salvatore Attardo and the "comprehensive" theory of John Morreall, my favourite theorist. There is also a passage that depends on outrageous lying for effects—Fanny Squeers's letter in Nicholas Nickleby—so there will be a place in the paper for whatever can be said about the connections between lies and humour, about which precious little has been published so far. Finally, I will apply to the analysis of at least one passage the theory about humour and comedy that I presented at the Long Beach conference in 2009. This theory centres on the ideas of inclusion and exclusion and makes possible a union of theory of humour and that of comedy, especially traditional stage comedy and the novels—like Dickens'—that draw heavily on that tradition. Because I enjoy acting, my goal for the paper is also to provide audience members with genuine entertainment as they re-experience some of the funniest passages in the traditional English canon.

Performance and Comedy
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 515
Chair: Sharon Lockyer, Brunel University

Panel Overview

Performance remains one of the major unexamined areas within the analysis of humour and comedy. The panel aims to offer pathways for the analysis of performance by taking one particular case study – in this instance, a short routine by American comedian Joan Rivers – and presenting three papers each taking a different analytical approach towards it. The analytical approaches are: socio-cultural perspectives; humour theory; performance and theatre studies. While the three presenters have collaborated on the format of the panel and the selection of the case study, none knows in detail what the other is going to present. It is hoped that the three papers will point towards links and disparities between the approaches, which will in turn suggest tactics and pathways fruitful to subsequent analysis of comedy and performance.

Title: Identity Politics and Comic Expression

Authors: Sharon Lockyer, Brunel University

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This paper examines the chosen Joan Rivers stand-up comedy sequence from a socio-cultural perspective. It examines the cultural politics of the comedic performances and material delivered by Rivers by paying particular attention to the complex ways in which constructions of gender, sexuality, body shape/size and celebrity status are constructed, negotiated and re-negotiated. The paper examines the extent to which Rivers reinforces and/or subverts dominant ideological identity constructions. Further it analyses the type of humour used in the performance, such as self-deprecating humour, in order to unpack the playfulness that surrounds Rivers' identity construction and the different socio-cultural positions in which she moves through and across – for example, from insider to outsider and from victim to aggressor. Drawing on Palmer (1994), consideration is given to how these constructions are negotiated via a complex and dynamic relationship involving authorship, joking context and audience dynamics. The paper concludes with a consideration of the complex comedic contradictions and paradoxes that underpin Rivers' comedic performance and a reflection on the opportunities offered to our understanding of comedic performances via socio-cultural analyses.

Title: Delivery and Reception in Stand-up Comedy

Authors: Louise Peacock, University of Hull

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This paper will explore which tools exist within the discipline of performance and theatre studies which might prove useful in the consideration of the performance given by a stand-up comedian. Of particular interest are the concepts of audience reception and complicité or connection between performer and audience. As an adjunct to this an analysis of proxemics (the spatial relationships formed by the performer's movement on stage) and kinesics (the analysis of gestures and facial expressions) allows for an analysis of how the performer seeks to control audience response. As a performer Joan Rivers makes very little use of props but does draw attention to costume and the way she looks; aspects of her performance which are open to semiotic analysis. Moving beyond the way these techniques are used to extend and expand the visual impact of the performance, vocal delivery is also important. The discipline of performance and theatre offers a rich vocabulary for discussing tone, pitch, timbre, pace, rhythm and timing. Taken together these methods of analysis create a strong framework for considering how the way a performance is constructed and delivered affects the way it is received.

Title: Humour Theory and Comic Performance

Authors: Brett Mills, University of East Anglia

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Humour theory is a range of analytical tools derived from a number of sources, such as psychology, linguistics, literature studies and maths. The field of humour theory is commonly divided into three main approaches; superiority; incongruity; relief. This paper will take each of these approaches and analyse the chosen stand-up sequence to see what they can add to discussions of performance and comedy. Humour theory has commonly been used to explore what is said in comedy, whereas here it will be applied to this as well as the physical aspects of performance and the nature of the comic performer themselves. In doing so, this paper will aim to show the variety of contradictory ways in which a comic performance can be made sense of, thereby highlighting the usefulness evident in adopting a range of approaches towards such analysis.

Culture and Humor
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 505
Chair: Dorota Brzozowska, Opole University

Title: Images of women in Estonian family jokes in a changing political context

Authors: Liisi Laineste, Estonian Literary Museum

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Joke-telling has primarily been a male practice. This has affected the portrayal of female stereotypes in the jokes, which are often frowned upon and considered distastefully aggressive or misogynic. The presentation will focus on the images of women present in Estonian jokes from 1960s to 2011. The sample material includes the subcategory of family jokes, a bulky set of close to 4000 joke texts, extracted from the database of Estonian contemporary jokes which consists by now of more than 50,000 texts. The aim of this paper is, first of all, to describe the setup of family jokes, stereotyping of the female characters that appear in them, and the changes of these aspects through the periods of socialism and post-socialism. This will allow analysing the portrayal of gender roles in its societal context. Secondly, an equally important aim is to show the impact of political context to the content of family jokes, as although these two joke subjects are seemingly unconnected, the politisation of jokelore during the Soviet regime turned nearly every joke into a political one. This tendency affected family jokes in the Soviet times, and some evidence on the continuation of the carryover of a political undertone into contemporary family jokes and the potential reasons for this will be discussed in the context of post-socialist jokelore.

Title: Gender stereotypes in Polish family jokes

Authors: Dorota Brzozowska, Opole University

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The aim of the paper is to analyze the gender stereotypes present in Polish jokes about family life. The researched material consist of jokes from books and the Internet. The comparison was made to show the difference between the characters from texts from the beginning of 20th century and the ones circulating in the eighties and most recent ones that emerge after the transition 1989. The political situation of Polish families changed rapidly at that time and the subjects of jokes were altered as well. The aim of the research is also to check to what extend the fact that the concept of family has changed itself – from the multigenerational to the nuclear or single parental one – could be observed in jokes. The women in the roles of wives and mothers and men in the roles of husbands and fathers – grandparents, uncles, aunts, parents- in-law are discussed in the paper. The parental attitude to children is also taken into consideration. For example the boy called Jasio is the main child character in Polish jokes - mostly present in texts about school as witty one but also in family context - especially as a kind of handicapped child. The amount of occurrence of different characters was also measured.

Title: A cross cultural study of responses to failed humor

Authors: Béatrice Priego-Valverde, Université de Provence & Nancy Bell, Washington State University

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In the past three decades, research on humor has considerably increased. Nevertheless, two areas remain neglected: failed humor and cross cultural studies on humor. In this presentation, we propose to share the results of a comparative study of responses to failed humor in two countries: the U.S. and France. Two jokes that were unlikely to be found funny, one in English and one in French, were selected, and responses were elicited by the telling of each joke. Our data set consists of 186 responses from each set of participants, for a total of 372 responses. Eleven types of responses emerged from the data, from laughter to groaning. Responses were also coded for their affective sense, as positive, negative or neutral. Then, we classified them according to the target of the response (the joke itself, the teller or both) and we focused on the evaluative answers – which represent the major part of the data – in order to determine what was exactly evaluated (the joke, the teller or both) and how (in a positive or negative way). Finally, we analyzed the responses according the age of the subjects, the relationship between the teller and the hearer, and the gender of the respondents. U.S. and French responses were compared across all of these dimensions. Results showed that evaluation and laughter were frequent responses for both groups. Strong, statistically significant differences emerged, however, in the comparison of the evaluative responses. The French directed the majority (86.8%) of their responses toward the joke itself, and most of these were negative. While the U.S. respondents did the same, they also directed more negative evaluations at the teller and at both the joke and teller. We suggest that the French use their choice of target as a way of mitigating the face threat associated with criticizing a joke, whereas the Americans used laughter to soften the effects of their more direct attacks. Analysis of the sociolinguistic variables shows that these differences were almost exclusively due to the behavior of the youngest group, aged 18-29.

Current issues in research on gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 527
Chair: Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich

Panel Overview

This symposium presents an overview on current research in gelotophilia (the joy in being laughed at), and katagelasticism (the joy of laughing at others). Its intention is to discuss the three dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at in a frame-work of self-presentation styles but also embedding research in this area into broader dimensions of humor research. Also, a first study using the so-called Implicit Association Test—a psychological technique for assessing personality beyond mere self-descriptions— and gelotophobia will be presented. Overall, the symposium can be seen as an update on most recently conducted research in the area.

Title: Performing Humor: On the relations between Self-Presentation Styles, Gelotophobia, Gelotophilia, and Katagelasticism

Authors: Karl-Heinz Renner, FernUniversität & Timo Heydasch, FernUniversität

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This contribution highlights the need for a joint consideration of self-presentation and humor. It is argued that presentational capabilities are often necessary to effectively perform jokes and funny stories. Furthermore, humor appreciation as well as humor production may be used to convey self-images to interaction partners. In particular, we present theoretical and empirical associations between self-presentation styles and the humor-related traits of gelotophobia (fear of being laughed at), gelotophilia (joy of being laughed at) and katagelasticism (joy of laughing at others). In doing so, special emphasis is placed on the histrionic self-presentation style that is characterized by performing explicit As-If-behaviors in everyday interactions. Histrionic self-presenters regard daily situations as opportunities for role playing and for transforming such situations into "dramatic scenes." Since histrionic role plays are not meant to be taken seriously, doing As-If often involves playing around, joking, making fun and teasing. Based on an online questionnaire study (N = 643) it turned out that the histrionic self-presentation style showed incremental validity in predicting gelotophilia and katagelasticism over and above gender, age and two other self-presentation styles. The same incremental validity in predicting gelotophobia emerged for the protective self- presentation style that aims at avoiding social disapproval. The acquisitive self-presentation style which is guided by the desire to win social approval only showed a low positive correlation with gelotophilia, was unrelated to katagelasticism and negatively correlated with gelotophobia. In the discussion it is shown how research on humor and self-presentation may cross-fertilize.

Title: You've Been Framed! Gelotophobia, Gelotophilia, Katagelasticism and Responses to Funnily Distorted Photographs of Oneself and Others

Authors: Jennifer Hofmann, University of Zurich & Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich

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This study investigates experimentally whether (1) gelotophobes do not laugh at themselves, as they do not like being the target of humour, conversely (2) gelotophiles laugh at themselves and (3) katagelasticists enjoy laughing at others. Laughing at oneself or at others was operationalised by appreciation (high funniness and low aversiveness) of funnily distorted photos of oneself and the experimenter, as well as facial expressions of amusement (Duchenne smiles and laughter) towards the photos. A sample of 78 participants completed the State Trait Cheerfulness Inventory (STCI, Ruch, Köhler & van Thriel, 1996, 1997) and the PhoPhiKat-30 (Ruch & Proyer, 2009), assessing three dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at. During the experimental session, state measures (STCI-state and an adapted Emotion Report; ER, Frederickson & Branigan, 2005) were completed pre and post the Distorted Photograph Task (DPT, Hofmann, 2010). The DPT task provided a cover story justifying the taking of photos. The photos were then electronically distorted (e.g., flattening or bowing the face) furtively. Next, participants were instructed to verbally rate their appreciation (funniness and aversiveness) to 12 distorted photographs on a 7 point scale, unaware that their own photographs had been inserted. Participants were secretly filmed while making the ratings. Facial responses were analysed applying the Facial Action Coding System (Ekman, Friesen & Hager, 2002). Gelotophobes tended not to appreciate all photos (low funniness, high aversiveness) and experienced negative emotions towards photos of themselves (e.g. discomfort, shame, embarrassment). Unexpectedly, no relations to facial expressions of amusement were found. Gelotophiles showed high verbal appreciation, facial expressions of amusement and positive emotions towards photos of themselves. Katagelasticism predicted the perceived funniness of photographs of the experimenter, but not the funniness of one's own photos. While all hypotheses to gelotophilia were confirmed, the outcomes on gelotophobia and katagelasticism were mixed. Possible interactions and implications are discussed.

Title: Dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at and fundamental dimensions of humor

Authors: Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich & Liliane Müller, University of Zurich

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The present talk addresses the question how gelotophobia (the fear of being laughed at), gelotophilia (the joy in being laughed at), and katagelasticism (the joy of laughing at others) relate to fundamental dimensions of humor and laughter. After the sense of humor has been discovered not to be unidimensional, humor research has been engaged in finding fundamental dimensions of humor and different solutions. Between two and five basic components have been proposed. In the present study different humor instruments (e.g., Humorous Behavior Q-Sort Deck- HBQD, Craik, Lampert & Nelson, 1996; Humor Styles Questionnaire—HSQ, Martin et al. 2003; State-Trait Cheerfulness Inventory—STCI-T, Ruch et al. 1996) was administered together with the PhoPhiKat-45 (Ruch & Proyer, 2009) to a group of 400 adult participants. Furthermore, some instruments (e.g., HBQD) were also filled in by the best friends of the participants for a peer-report of humor (n = 150). Relationships between dispositions to ridicule and being laughed at and the scales of the various humor instruments will be examined, as will be the location of the PhoPhiKat-concepts at different levels of a hierarchical factor model of humor (based on a hierarchical factor analysis of a large pool of humor items). The results will add to the discussion of what the fundamental dimensions of humor are and also enrich our understanding of where gelotophobia, gelotophilia and katagelasticism may be located in such a factor model of humor.

Social Psychology
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 511
Chair: Gil Greengross, University of New Mexico

Title: Can ovulatory cycle shifts affect humor preferences?

Authors: Gil Greengross, University of New Mexico; Melissa Heap, University of New Mexico & Robert Mankoff, University of Michigan, New Yorker Cartoon Editor

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Many studies in recent years have examined the possible role of humor and laughter in human evolution. Humor is a very complex trait that appears to have more than one function in everyday life. A variety of theories have been offered to explain both the production and appreciation of humor. In this presentation, we will focus on the role humor may play in women during high and low fertility phases of the menstrual cycle. Recent studies have demonstrated that women's mate preferences and related behaviors change across the menstrual cycle. Such studies were motivated by evolutionary hypotheses suggesting that women's psychologies should be attuned to the differential consequences of mating across conditions of low and high fertility phases. Because women can only conceive at times of high fertility, selection could have favored their psychologies to prefer men who display cues for "good genes" at those times. These studies have found, among other things, that during the high fertility phase of the cycle, women show preferences for more masculinized faces (Penton-Voak, et al., 1999), greater facial attractiveness (Roberts, et al., 2004), and higher verbal creativity (Symonds, Gallagher, Thompson, & Young, 2004). Since humor is known to be an important cue for mating, especially for women (Bressler, Martin, & Balshine, 2006), it is hypothesized that women will appreciate humor more and be more attracted to a man with a great sense of humor during the peak fertility phase. The current study examines the degree to which women's preferences throughout the menstrual cycle are related to various humor domains. Our results suggest that normally cycling women might be more sensitive to humor cues during peak fertility. We also discuss some methodological issues related to measurements of humor and fertility.

Title: Non-Mechanical Rejection of Humorous Stimuli

Authors: Corey Guilford, Purdue University

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As Ruch states in his 1998 book The Sense of Humor: Explorations of a Personality Characteristic, there are "three prominent modes of humor appreciation … stimuli, responses, and persons." The stimuli mode has received the most attention; however the other two modes have been studied as well. Of particular interest to this paper, he goes on to state that the responses mode lacks a complete list of possible reactions and lacks substantive theoretical attention. This paper intends to identify and classify the general origins of reactions that result in the rejection of the humorous stimuli (thus facilitating the discovery and taxonomy of possible responses) from a theoretical perspective, dealing with the origin of the response and ignoring the rejection of humor due to a mechanical failure on the part of the stimuli. This does not attempt to create taxonomy of how to determine a given individual's humor preference, but rather to classify the underlying reasons for one's rejection of humor. This step (or steps like it) is(are) important for two additional reasons: 1) This concept will aid the research that attempts to determine which individuals like what humor and why; 2) It helps to illuminate why one might reject humor that corresponds to his or her preferred type of humor. This theoretical model ignores one's preferences to humor and suggests that when humor is rejected due to reasons not associated with the failure of the stimuli, its rejection can be followed by a hierarchical model beginning with a perception of threat, and then dividing it into a threat of society, to an individual, or to moral standards. At this point this model makes no attempt to dictate why a threat was perceived, merely how it leads to the rejection of stimuli through the hierarchical model.

Title: Compulsive Humorous Ploys (CHP) - Mechanisms of Applied Humorous Thinking

Authors: Matteo Andreone, Accademia Nazionale del Comico & Rino Cerritelli, Umorismo Formazione

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This study has as its object in the automatic behavioral and social skills that are put into action, often unknowingly, in our private, social and professional lives, from which we extract humor. Our research is based on careful experimentation in the field of interpersonal relations and conflict management. In 5 years of research, we have isolated, identified and studied nearly 150 comic mechanisms that arise naturally out of human communication and establish a starting point and basis for comic representation. We have called these mechanisms Compulsive Humorous Ploys (CHP), experimented with them during our training workshops, applied them to the everyday life of our students and noticed in participants an improvement in their positive management of conflict and interpersonal communication. The experiment was conducted in Italy, between September 2010 and March 2011, through workshops and training in public and private companies, schools, hospitals and universities, with more than 300 adult participants from a diverse range of professions (artistic, professional, relational, and educational. This study served to identify the common thread of humor that regulates the emotional context in the social and professional life and relationships of Italians, a people to whom comedy has always been much more than an art form, constituting, instead, a way of life. The development of specific humorous skills is, in our country, an identity trait, a unique and original anthropological characteristic, a means of sharing of values, of understanding others, of freedom of thought and of accepting confrontation, of adapting to changing the economic, social and cultural changes that Italians have faced during their history. Our research also aims to demonstrate how and to what extent the CHP, adapting to the existential and behavioural patterns shared by all societies and cultures, can constitute a universal application of Humorous Thinking. Outline of the paper: 1) Introduction - Humorous Thinking in communication and social relationships - Implementation and experiments 2) Development - Definition of theoretical and a practical demonstration of some CHP 3) Conclusions - Implications for the social and professional use of CHP.

Advertising & Marketing
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 511
Chair: Caleb Warren, Bocconi University

Title: Humor advertisements in German-speaking countries and the US

Authors: Manuela Wagner, University of Connecticut

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The current study investigates humor in its cultural contexts in German-speaking countries and the USA is based on three assumptions: 1) Humor constitutes an important part of everyday life. 2) There are cultural differences in the use of humor. 3) Even within cultures that share the same language there can be differences in humor production and perception. To become effective communicators we need to have a better understanding of how humor works in various contexts. In this paper I present results of humor analyses of commercial TV ads for electronic markets, cars, and food in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the USA. In particular, I investigate whether there are differences in how humor is used in marketing in German-speaking countries and the USA. This project is part of a larger study investigating spontaneous as well as scripted data (newspapers and magazines, comedy shows on TV and video, radio shows). The data consist of a corpus of advertisements 1) by a company that aired different advertisements in Germany and Austria and 2) for the same or very similar products in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA. Analyses include comparisons of humor types, topic choice, delivery of humor, and background information. Findings of preliminary analyses suggest differences in humor types and topic choice between ads by the same company shown in Germany and Austria as well as between ads for the same or similar products shown in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the USA. Apart from some culturally determined content (using references to well-known personalities in Germany or Austria) there were also subtle differences in humor types and humor delivery. Even when the same taboo word was used in ads in Germany and Austria, the delivery of the word created a different effect. Differences between humor used in ads in German-speaking countries versus the USA indicated a different topic choice. The results have implications for research in humor appreciation of German speakers from different parts of German-speaking countries as well as for second language speakers of German who are trying to understand the target culture(s).

Title: When Humorous Marketing Hurts Brands: The Role of Negative Emotions

Authors: Caleb Warren, Bocconi University & A. Peter McGraw, University of Colorado at Boulder

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Humor attracts attention, entertains, and is inherently enjoyable (Martin 2007). Consequently, humorous stimuli are generally assumed to create a strictly positive experience that enhances the effectiveness of marketing tactics (Beard 2005; Eisend 2009). We challenge these assumptions. By integrating principles from incongruity, superiority, and relief theories, we suggest that humor occurs when something simultaneously seems wrong (i.e., a violation) and okay (i.e., benign; McGraw and Warren 2010; Veatch 1998). If humor requires a violation, negative emotions may accompany mirth. We show that humorous stimuli can elicit a mixed emotional experience and that the efficacy of humorous marketing depends more on the negative emotional reactions to a humor attempt than on perceptions of humor. Our first study illustrates how 12 benign moral violations (e.g., a girl selling her virginity on eBay) tend to elicit both negative emotion and amusement, whereas similar behaviors that do not involve a violation (e.g., a girl selling her jewelry on eBay) do not typically elicit either. Study 2 shows that marketing tactics depicting benign violations (e.g., blatantly charging more to ignorant yet wealthy consumers) elicit more mixed emotions and, consequently, result in lower brand attitudes than similar tactics not depicting a violation (e.g., charging all consumers the same price). Two additional studies using samples of advertisements further suggest that brand attitude is better predicted by negative emotional reactions than perceptions of humor. Finally, our last study shows that the relationship between humor and brand attitude depends on the type of violation used to create humor. By adapting advertisements from a popular cola brand, we show that disgust-based humor, which prompts withdrawal, hurts the brand relative to a non-humorous control ad, but harm-based humor, which is more likely to prompt approach, does not. Collectively, our studies suggest that (1) humor is not always a strictly positive experience, (2) researchers attempting to understand the consequences of humor should measure negative emotion in addition to perceptions of humor, and (3) the effectiveness of humor as a marketing tool depends on the specific benign violation used to create humor.

4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 505
Chair: Jim Lyttle, Upper Iowa University

Title: Funny Teachers: Favorite and Not-So-Much

Authors: Jim Lyttle, Upper Iowa University

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Those who believe that the use of humor supports teaching and learning usually argue (a) that the humor becomes linked to the material and makes it easier to remember, (b) that it relaxes students so they can learn more readily, and/or (c) that it makes the teacher more likeable and trusted. However, on the first point, classroom humor is not always linked effectively to the material being studied. Sometimes, at best, it is comic relief and, at worst, self-indulgence. On the second point, there is support for the idea that relaxed students learn better and, further, there is evidence that teachers' use of humor can relieve student tension. On the third point, no one questions the idea that the use of humor makes a teacher more popular. I decided to investigate that assumption by asking more than 400 people to recall teachers who were funny: some of whom they remembered fondly, and some of whom they certainly did not. I analyzed the data on the qualities of 866 funny teachers to see what differentiated the favored ones from those who were less favored. Were the differences based on the same criteria as the ratings of the average teacher? It turned out that the most significant factors predicting favored status among funny teachers were being (a) approachable, (b) patient, and (c) empathetic. These were compared against the most often mentioned qualities of favorite teachers in the literature. It seemed that, for the most part, funny teachers were being judged on the same criteria as their more serious peers. Thus, while funny teachers might be rated more highly overall, the distinctions among them seem to depend on the same criteria. The use of humor does not seem to have qualitatively changed the rules for who will or will not be a popular teacher.

Title: Fun and laugh: online humor course with animation for workplace learning

Authors: Shu-Min Chuang, National Taiwan Normal University, Hsueh-Chih Chen, National Taiwan Normal University, Kuo-En Chang, National Taiwan Normal University & Yao-Ting Sung, National Taiwan Normal University

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Previous studies pointed out that humor has the efficacy of elevating cohesion within a group, easing pressure and facilitating teaching and training, so individuals interested in developing the humor skills to learn to lighten up. The study is to design an online training program with funny animation, and empirical studies to test its effectiveness. Humor-creating tasks were assigned pre-test and post-test for the training course to examine its efficacy. There are 100 participants who are Information engineers to join this humor creation program. The results found that seven types most often used humor to create rules, which are: "Homophonic -to master pronunciation", "statement of the combination of skills", "multiplicity of word meaning", "statement of multiple inferential meaning", "false inferences", "re-interpretation", "metaphorical inference" techniques; to make each more specific skills, and easy for learners to learn. Besides, the learning procedure combined with a joke-generator system that create a joke-understand program which takes as input a joke and gives as output a rating of its funniness. The result has found that some of the humor production skills, the online training enable individuals to obtain skills in the short term and improve humorous creativity.

Title: Using Humorous Video Clips to Enhance Students' Understanding, Engagement, and Critical Thinking

Authors: Mordechai Gordon, Quinnipiac University

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Research on humor and learning suggests that humor and laughter can not only coexist with serious learning and rigorous investigation, but can actually enhance them. Studies that have examined the connection between humor and learning have shown that humor and laughter can reduce anxiety, create a positive learning environment, and increase student motivation and enjoyment of the topic. For instance, R. L. Garner (2006) found that "the use of appropriate humor can facilitate a more relaxed atmosphere and provide a cognitive break that allows the student to assimilate the information" (p. 179). The literature on humor also indicates that teachers who are comfortable with laughter and humor have a greater chance of helping their students to think in more critical and creative ways (Ziv, 1983, 1988). According to Alleen Nilsen (1994), "Humor at its best is excellent for challenging the status quo, and we need to make sure that we're not getting in its way" (p. 931). Cris Mayo (2008) echoes this sentiment, noting that "humor is an invitation to think differently, from another perspective, while at the same time inhabiting one's own perspective; in other words, humor encourages one to learn" (p. 245). This paper examines the results of my attempt to use humorous video clips in a "Philosophy of Humor and Laughter" course taught in the Fall of 2010. The regular display of these clips was designed to enhance my students' understanding of the central concepts of the course and to encourage them to think more critically and creatively. The question that guides the present study is: to what extent does the viewing and analyzing of humorous video clips correlate with my students' capacity to think more critically and creatively? I present the results of a survey I administered at the end of the semester designed to assess the impact of the video clips on my students' understanding of the material and thinking skills. The results of this questionnaire suggest that there is a positive correlation between the use of the humorous clips and my students' understanding of the content, engagement in the lessons and ability to think critically. Both the quantitative and qualitative results of the survey as well as my own reflections on this course indicate that watching and analyzing the humorous clips provided the students with a very valuable perspective that illuminated the ideas that we read. That is, the humorous clips added a visual and auditory dimension to this course that enhanced their ability to make sense of the theories we discussed. My findings also suggest that this added dimension encouraged many students to participate more in the class discussions and helped them to think deeper and more critically about the texts we read. Simply put, watching and analyzing the humorous clips helped many students make connections to the content of the lessons and their own lives that would not have been possible without this aspect of the course.

Philosophy & Psychology
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 527
Chair: John Morreall, College of William & Mary

Title: Shaftesbury on Humor: Truth, Criticism, and Rationality

Authors: Lydia B. Amir, College of Management, Israel

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The 18th century philosopher, Anthony Ashley Cooper Shaftesbury, is renowned for the view that (1) ridicule is the test of truth. Less famously, he also maintains that (2) to be effective, criticism must be humorous. Most importantly, Shaftesbury anticipates Karl Popper's equation of rationality with critical dialogue; by further equating criticism with humor Shaftesbury makes (3) humor the mark of rationality. Those three tenets together express the unequaled role Shaftesbury gives to humor within philosophy. In the paper I assess the originality and feasibility of each tenet. (1) Whilst original, the view that ridicule is the test of truth makes sense mainly within the context of Shaftesbury's metaphysics. Holding this view, then, requires embracing the religious faith that Shaftesbury's metaphysics represents. (2) The view that effective criticism must be humorous has been put in practice in the exoteric moral teaching of Ancient philosophers. Shaftesbury revives this device and defends it as necessary for all the forms his philosophy takes (inner dialogue, philosophic conversation and writing) because, for him, all philosophy is exoteric moral teaching. Whilst not original in itself, the view that effective criticism must be humorous innovates when implemented in inner dialogue and in the reciprocity of conversation, rather than in the one-sidedness of philosophic writing. Finally, (3) the view that humor is the mark of rationality complements the view of effective criticism as humorous. Entirely original, the former view can be accepted as a better version of Popper's thesis that critical thinking is the very essence of rationality, because it takes into consideration the psychological resistance to criticism that Popper acknowledges but refuses to address.

Title: Is Amusement an Emotion?

Authors: John Morreall, College of William & Mary

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Using arguments from my book Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (Wiley-Blackwell 2009), I challenge the standard classification of humorous amusement as an emotion. I analyze emotions into four components: the cognitive (beliefs and desires), the physiological (bodily changes such as increased muscle tension), the motivational (dispositions to adaptive actions), and the proprioceptive (sensations of the bodily changes). In fear, for example, the main belief is that something threatens me and the main desire is to avoid harm. The bodily changes include the secretion of epinephrine (adrenaline), and with it increased alertness and muscle tension, the release of blood sugar, faster heartbeat, shallower breathing, the redistribution of blood away from the surface of the skin, and the cessation of digestion. The motivation is to flee or fight. The proprioceptive sensations are of the faster heartbeat, cessation of digestion, etc. These are the "feelings" in fear. Those who classify amusement as an emotion seldom give reasons for doing so, but the usual rationale seems to be that amusement has two of these four components—the physiological and the proprioceptive. When we are laughing, there are bodily changes and sensations of those changes. We feel these changes, and, as in positive emotions, these feelings are pleasant. If we probe beneath the surface of these similarities, however, we find striking differences. The big one is that amusement lacks the cognitive and motivational components of emotions. When we are laughing about something, we need have no particular beliefs about it, desires toward it, or motivations to act. I conclude that humorous amusement involves an orientation to one's environment quite different from emotions. Emotions evolved as practical adaptations to dangers and opportunities. They involve practical orientations to real situations. Amusement, by contrast, is not a direct adaptation to dangers and opportunities, and so it does not involve the cognitive and practical engagement of beliefs, desires, and adaptive actions. It is a disengaged mental state, a kind of play, quite different from, indeed opposed to, the seriousness of emotions.

Title: Positive Psychology and humor: Past, present, and future

Authors: Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich

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Humor as a neutral umbrella term refers to a research area that involves neutral, positive and negative aspects. In fact, the valence of humor is implicitly acknowledged but rarely explicitly investigated. The present talk examines the overlap between humor and Positive Psychology (PP), which is concerned with what makes life worth living the most (Peterson, 2007). This very recent movement tries to make psychology complete again by investigating the positive side of life that has been neglected by business-as-usual-psychology in the past decade. Research focuses on three neglected areas, namely positive experience (e.g., flow, positive affect), positive traits (e.g., talents, virtue, character) and positive institutions (i.e., conditions that allow people to thrive and flourish and foster positive emotions). Humor may contribute to the three research areas, in as much amusement contributes to the richness of positive affect, sense of humor is perceived as a very positive trait and positive institutions may utilize humor. The talk will present the nomological net that PP provides (e.g., character strengths, virtues, orientations to happiness, and satisfaction with life) and highlight where humor is assigned a place. Furthermore, it will summarize pertinent research in our humor lab at the University of Zurich. Two research lines will be particularly highlighted: a) humor (traditionally defined and as a character strength; i.e., the VIA-humor scale) as a predictor (and perhaps even cause) of satisfaction with life (Peterson, Ruch, Beermann, Park, & Seligman, 2007; Proyer, Ruch & Müller, 2010; Ruch, Proyer, Harzer, Peterson & Seligman, 2010; Ruch, Proyer & Weber, 2010; Stolz & Rusch, 2009), and b) the link between humor and virtue/vice (Beermann & Ruch, 2009; Morreall, 2010; Müller & Ruch, 2011).

Social Change and Survival
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 515
Chair: Chaya Ostrower, Beit Berl College

Title: How Comedians Learn To Use Humor To Raise Awareness and Consciousness About Social and Political Issues

Authors: Nancy Goldman, Teachers College, Columbia University

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During these unprecedented complicated times there is an equally unprecedented need for an informed citizenry. Many of us watch democracy get played out on the 24-hour news networks. Still others bear witness to it in the social commentaries embedded in the entertainment provided by late night comedians like Jon Stewart. Humor provides a largely acceptable means by which to hold our ideologies up to the light for inspection and critique. The end result is the creation of new perspectives. Speaking up, and standing up, is our right. It is also our obligation. Walker (1998) agrees, "The fact that democracy encourages the participation of its citizens in the development of its institutions allows those same citizens freedom to criticize both the nation's leaders and its laws" (p. 8). Therefore, in a very important way, humor serves a uniquely democratic function. The sources of data for this qualitative case study were interviews with fourteen elite comedians, a focus group of eight comedians and a document review. The three findings indicate that 1) the primary way in which comedians raise awareness and consciousness about social and political issues is by presenting alternative perspectives; 2) in order to do so they need to know the social/political landscape and need to question prevailing points of view; and 3) they learn to do this through informal means by drawing on past experience, observation and learning by doing. A noteworthy commonality between several participants who have a questioning point of view is that they belong to a minority – they're either gay, black, bi-cultural, Jewish, female or some combination. A fundamental rule of comedy is to attack those in power, not those that are powerless. Freire (2000) writes, "…a pedagogy… must be forged with, not for, the oppressed… in the incessant struggle to regain their humanity (p. 48). These participants, as members of minorities, are engaged in that struggle. However, having the perspective of an outsider is not necessarily defined by one's outward appearance or group identification. Sensitivity to hypocrisy and absurdity, and the ability to question the status quo, is available to all through the use of humor.

Title: I Laugh Therefore I Am: Humor as a defense mechanism in the holocaust

Authors: Chaya Ostrower, Beit Berl College

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Humor in the ghettos and camps was the weapon of those who were helpless and could not rebel or resist. Churchill used the following adage to explain the necessity of fighting: "Without victory, there is no survival." When we discuss the Jewish nation during the Holocaust, we turn the adage upside-down: Without survival, there is no victory. The very existence of a Jewish life held elements of victory, as it symbolized the negation of the German desire for total destruction of the Jewish people. The Holocaust was a traumatic period for the Jewish nation and a period of trial and tribulation that had never been known before to the Jewish collective. Despite this fact, or perhaps because of it, there was humor and laughter during the Holocaust, in the ghettos and the concentration and death camps. This is well-known among survivors, but less known among the general public. Despite the passage of years, even the memories that accompany the humor still cause great pain. Nevertheless, the appeal to several scores of Holocaust survivors to be interviewed regarding their experiences and approach towards the subject of humor in the Holocaust, engendered a profusion of testimonies. The answers that were collected are the authentic documentation of Holocaust survivors. Much research has been carried out over the years of the Nazi ghettos and camps. Tens of thousands of scientific works on a broad variety of topics connected to the Holocaust have been written. Scores of years have passed since the liberating armies cut the barbed wire of the camps; finally, the distance of time allows us to investigate the sensitive phenomenon of laughter, humor and jokes in the hell of the ghettos and the concentration and death camps.

Title: The importance of humoristic songs during the Holocaust

Authors: Chaya Ostrower, Beit Berl College

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Numerous poems and songs were composed during the Holocaust; nevertheless, the subject of songs in the Holocaust in general, and humorous or satirical poems in particular, has not yet merited serious research attention. The songs created during the Holocaust are not only a chronicle of tragedy, but also a tool used by the Jews in their struggle to survive. The humorous songs clearly carried out the function of defense mechanism; they helped the Jews to overcome emotions of deep sorrow, and they expressed the spirit of resistance in the ghetto. The following was sung in the Warsaw Ghetto to a Hassidic melody: "Let us be gay and tell jokes/We'll yet live to see Hitler dead." The songs strengthened morale, warmed the heart, and expressed the battle for life and freedom.

Title: Dick Jokes and the Dilemmas of Desire: An Exploration of The Theory and Practice of Humor in Sexual Health Promotion

Authors: Melissa Laurie, Columbia University

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Gayle Rubin begins her seminal essay Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality with the simple declaration, "The time has come to think about sex" (Rubin 1984). In Thinking Sex, Rubin argues for the need to disentangle gender and sex and to conceptualize sex as a 'vector of power.' Describing the historical regulation of sexuality, her work sets the foundation for the contemporary field of sexuality studies. In a deliberate homage to this important work, I contend that another time is upon sexuality studies: The time has come to joke about sex. In this paper, I will show that for the field of sexual health promotion and sexuality researchers, humor remains an untapped resource. While the fields recognize the importance of the social, cultural, and political for understanding sexuality and improving sexual health outcomes, most practitioners and researchers fail (often at their peril) to conceptualize a role for humor in these efforts. In this paper I describe and explore the attributes of humor (solidarity building, ambivalence and incongruity expression, and means of dissent) that are well suited to sexual health promotion, particularly when working with adolescents. The nature of the sexual health harms experienced by youth makes a particularly compelling argument for bridging the divide between sexuality and humor researchers. The purpose of this paper therefore is to explore and constructively critique current understandings of sexuality and humor in the sexual health promotion as well as humor studies literature. To gain insight about the current state of practice for humor in sex-positive education, I conducted a few observations and interviews with educators in New York City. The observations and interview are entirely preliminary, but they provide useful anecdotes about the advantages and limitations of humor in sexual health promotion. From these sources and literature, I draw my ultimate conclusions about the need for humor in sexual health promotion and research.

Plenary: Gender and Humor
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM CGS Sleeper Auditorium
Chair: Patrice Oppliger, Boston University

Title: Traditional Comic Conflicts in Farce and the Role of Women

Authors: Jessica Milner Davis, University of Sydney

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This paper explores the significance of female roles in typical farce-structures: humiliation and deception farces; reversal farces; equilibrium and quarrel farces; and circular farces such as talisman and snowball farce (Davis 1978 and Davis 2000). Farce uses highly aggressive and physical humour with broadly stereotypical characters. Its evident enjoyment by both men and women challenges conventional gender differences in humour preference suggesting women enjoy crude and risqué forms less than men. No evidence is revealed audience studies that women enjoy/ed farce less than men. Even in Japan (eg. kyōgen traditionally accompanying performances of the elite nō plays) its audiences have always included both sexes. Both male and female roles in farce are instrumental to its success in achieving a characteristic equipoise between revolt and order and propriety. An initial comic challenge or battle of wits typically depends on equal engagement between the two, even if existing social conventions are ultimately restored at play's end. I speculate that this "play-time" indulgence privileges a larger joke about the limitations of being human over those about gender conventions, allowing farce's aggression to evade censorship and rejection.

Title: Sex and the Witty: Empirical Studies of Humor and Gender

Authors: Rod A. Martin, University of Western Ontario

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Do men and women differ in their sense of humor? To investigate this question, we need to consider the nature, forms, and functions of humor, and to clarify what is meant by a sense of humor. Humor is a complex psychological phenomenon that involves several different components, takes many forms, and serves a variety of psychosocial functions. Each of these may or may not be relevant to gender. In this paper, I will review research findings relating to gender differences in such aspects of humor as: humor appreciation, joke-telling, humor creation ability, and humor styles. I will also discuss studies relating to evolutionary theories of gender differences in the use of humor in courtship and mate selection.

Title: Being Bovvered and Taking Liberties: Female Performance and Feminine Identities in The Catherine Tate Show

Authors: Sharon Lockyer, Brunel University

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A large body of literature exists which explores the roles and representations of women in television situation comedies. However, little work exists on women's roles and representations in television sketch shows. The 'sketch show' is an increasingly popular type of programming that recently has dominated British television schedules. Whist a number of these sketch shows have been written and performed primarily by men, for example, Little Britain (BBC 2003-2006), more recently a number of successful British sketch shows have been written and performed by women. One notable example is the one-woman award-winning satirical character-based sketch show - The Catherine Tate Show (BBC 2004-2007) - written and performed by comedienne Catherine Tate. This paper examines the treatment of different female identities in this female-based sketch show. Two main characters are analysed - 'chav' 'Am I bovvered?' teenage schoolgirl Lauren Cooper, and Joannie 'Nan' Taylor, the foul-mouthed cockney racist grandmother. Analysis focuses on their physical characteristics, their language use, their character 'defects' and the narratives in which they are embedded. The paper examines the extent to which characters in The Catherine Tate Show challenge and subvert stereotypical ways in which women have been represented in television comedy, and explores how the constructions of feminine identities intersect with other spheres of identity, such as social class and age.

Title: How Many Women Does It Take To...?

Authors: Alice Sheppard, University of Maine at Presque Isle

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In late 1973 the newly-founded Ms. Magazine offered a cartoon cover, where a male character asks the female, "Do you know the women's movement has no sense of humor?" She immediately replies, "no… But hum a few bars and I'll fake it!" Less than three years later Anthony J. Chapman convened the first multidisciplinary international conference on Humor and Laughter. Among the scholars and humor practitioners present was a notable mix of women and men. In the shadow of Betty Friedan and second-wave feminism, perhaps studying humor was a great antidote to the problem that has no name. We could, however, mention the long list of founding mothers in the humor-study field: from Polyxenie Kambouropoulou's (1926) humor diaries, to Louise Omwake's (1937) report that only 1.4% rate themselves "below average" in humor, to Martha Wolfenstein's (1954) path breaking work on children's humor and Mary Douglas's (1968) seminal analysis using a cultural anthropology. Since the first international humor conference in 1976, our organization has viewed a number of women conveners and co-conveners: Joy Turek (1979), Alleen Nilsen (1987), Margaret Baker (1989), Ann-Marie Guilmette (1991), Judith Stora-Sandor and Nelly Feuerhahn (1992), Mary Ann Rishel (1994) Jessica Milner Davis (1996), Amy Carrell (1997), Delia Chiaro (2002), Judith Kaplan-Weinger (2003), Lorene Birden (2004), Margaret Matthias (2007), Amy Bippus (2009), and Patrice Oppliger (2011). The 1976 humor conference included participation by Jessica Milner Davis, Jean Smith, Melanie Allen, Mary Rothbart, Diane Pien, Alice Sheppard, and others. Highlighting the 1979 conference were Jane R. Littmann's comprehensive "A Theory of Humor" and Diane Horgan's insightful analysis of her daughter, "The Emergence of Kelly as Comedienne." Soon the conference would celebrate participation by Nancy Walker, Zita Dresner, Sara Blacher Cohen, and Regina Barreca, and other notable scholars. Fast-forward thirty years. An article from the August 11, 2009 London times carries the headline "How many women does it take to change the face of comedy?" It had been alleged that BBC programming "reflected an industry in which 'women just don't do stand-up.'" There is progress to be made. But first lets celebrate what we have already achieved.

Poster Session
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM CGS 505

Abstracts already listed above.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 505
Chair: Salvatore Attardo, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Title: Cognitive Recapitulation: Are Machines Finally Learning Humor like Children?

Authors: Christian Hempelmann, RiverGlass Inc. & Purdue University

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Recent developments in natural language processing have been based on artificial intelligence rather than "machine learning," mere word counting and statistics, or template filling. These developments are actually based in the same school of linguistic semantics that was earlier applied to humor, resulting in the script-based semantic theory. In these computational efforts, humor has arisen as a byproduct of human-like language processing, not as the sole capability of toy systems, as in the past. This presentation will outline the features of incidental artificially intelligent humor and explain how it arises in the system "naturally" in a way that it never could have in previous computational humor systems. It will do so by relating artificially intelligent humor to the early stages of human cognitive development and their role in humor processing (and possibly appreciation). The latter point, while strictly metaphorical, provides an occasion to revisit one of the venerable strands of psychological humor research and use it to evaluate the power of of current advances in computational semantics for humor research.

Title: Conversational Humor and Narrative Humor: Are there differences in Prosodic Markers?

Authors: Salvatore Attardo, Texas A&M University-Commerce & Lucy Pickering, Texas A&M University-Commerce

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This paper addresses the purported differences between conversational humor and narrative humor (canned jokes), in terms of prosodic and multimodal markers of the punch/jab lines. Pickering et al. (2009) found that, contrary to the folk theory of humor performance, speakers, generally speaking, do not mark the punch line of narrative (canned) jokes prosodically or using smiling and/or laughter. Further research using dyadic conversations reached similar conclusions also for conversational humor, including irony. However, recent work by Archakis et al. (2010) seems to include different results. A comparison between the methodologies and the corpora used by both studies shows some light on this interesting contradiction.

Title: Metaphorical profiles in non-bona-fide communication

Authors: Wladyslaw Chlopicki, Jagiellonian University

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One of the fundamental issues which needs to be posed by humor research (and sometimes has been) is, to use a cooking metaphor, the accurate content of non-humor in humor as well as the right proportions of the two (cf. Chłopicki 2001). Humor researchers have framed this question variously. Attardo (2001) argues that there is a serious relief in longer humorous stories, which otherwise are filled with jab lines. Jokes on the other hand evoke both background and foreground incongruities (Attardo et al 2002), they may also be argued to suppress one script only to reveal it at the punch line. The latter notion has been reasonably researched, although little attention has been paid to the influence of the figurative language on the quality of the punch line as well as jab lines. In the dictionary based study of jocular expressions, Kovecses (2010) argues that figurative devices, such as metaphor, metonymy or blending, are not necessary nor sufficient for the humorous effect, but they facilitate the creation of incongruity. This rather controversial finding will be followed with regard to a small corpus of Polish and English jokes. An additional question will be asked: can we talk about a unique and culturally relevant metaphorical profile (cf. Janda in print) of jab lines and punch lines in Polish and English? Does it also facilitate incongruity? The incompatibility of the profiles sometimes becomes visible when a translation of the jokes from one language to the other is attempted (cf. Davies 2005). Of course sometimes the problems in translation may also concern the set-up elements which contain no incongruity and thus blur the picture. The specific grammatical phenomena that are under consideration in the corpus are e.g. virility, reflexivity, im/perfective aspects, specific/general action verbs as well as the actual metaphors, blending and metonymies. Similarities and differences between Polish and English jokes in these regards will be outlined and rough metaphorical profiles of non-bona-fide texts will be proposed.

Title: The Role of Shadow Sets in the Creation of Humor

Authors: Donald Casadonte, Columbus State Community College

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It is known from neurolinguistic studies that if a word has multiple meanings, when one sense of the word is activated, all senses of the word are activated and the context filters out all but the correct meaning for that context. In telling a joke, the foreground narrative is surrounded by all of the unactivated senses of the other words of the joke that have been filtered out by the narrative context. These unactivated senses form a sort of shadow set of words and contexts that travel with the narrative, unseen. It is from this shadow set that the punchline of a joke is chosen, since a script/context from the shadow set and a script from the foreground narrative, together, form the opposed scripts in verbal humor. The punchline is a sort of probe that exposes, activates, and legitimizes one of the hidden members of the shadow set. In nonverbal humor, the shadow set is composed of possible but unrealized actions within an unfolding context. An example might be in the joke: Did you hear about the rock musician who worried [Foreground: worried = fret] that his broken guitar-neck [Shadow Set: broken guitar-neck = fret] wouldn't be fixed in time for the concert? It turns out he fretted over nothing. In this presentation, we will look at the role that shadow sets play in humor. We will look at the structure of the shadow set and attempt to calculate the probability that any given member of the shadow set will be activated to form a joke. This is a first attempt to develop a sort of probability calculus for the formation of a joke in a given context. If time permits, we will also begin to look at the role of belief revision and Bayesian hypothesis formation in attempting to figure out which members of the shadow set are likely to go, "live" and form the punchline of the joke.

Humor Styles and Well-Being: Recent Research Developments
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 527
Chair: Rod A. Martin, University of Western Ontario

Panel Overview

Martin and colleagues (2003) proposed that humor may have detrimental as well as beneficial effects on psychological well-being, depending on how it is used in everyday life. A considerable amount of research using the Humor Styles Questionnaire has provided support for this view. Individuals with high scores on affiliative and self-enhancing humor tend to have greater levels of emotional well-being, higher self-esteem, and more positive interpersonal relationships, whereas those with high scores on aggressive and self-defeating humor tend to have greater levels of emotional distress, lower self-esteem, and less satisfying relationships. This panel, presented by members of Rod Martin's research group at the University of Western Ontario, will highlight several recent developments and new findings in research on humor styles. Sara Caird will present a recent daily diary study that explored the role of humor styles in the dating relationships of university students by examining interactions between daily uses of positive and negative humor styles and relationship events in predicting relationship satisfaction and longevity. Kim Edwards will present a study investigating the role of humor in positive psychology, examining in particular the associations between humor styles and character strengths, moral decision making, resilience, and happiness. David Podnar will describe the development and initial validation of a new measure of prosocial teasing, exploring the role of playfully aggressive teasing in the development and maintenance of close relationships. Finally, Rod Martin will summarize three recent studies that explored the role of humor styles as mediators of the links between early vulnerability/resiliency factors and later emotional and social well-being. Together, these papers will highlight additional areas in which positive and negative humor styles may play an important role in psychological health.

Title: Laughter and Love: The Impact of Humour Styles on Relationship Satisfaction and Longevity

Authors: Sara Caird, University of Western Ontario & Rod A. Martin, University of Western Ontario

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It is often suggested that humour is beneficial to romantic relationships. However, humour can be used in negative as well as positive ways. For example, aggressive forms of humor may be detrimental to interpersonal relationships. The Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ; Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray, & Weir, 2003) was developed to distinguish between potentially beneficial (i.e., affiliative and self-enhancing) and detrimental (i.e., aggressive and self-defeating) styles of humor. A previous study of dating relationships and the four styles of humor yielded unexpected results (Puhlik-Doris, 2004); individuals high on affiliative and self-enhancing humor were more likely to break up than their counterparts. This study seeks to replicate Puhlik-Doris' previous findings and explore the mechanisms by which the four humor styles impact the relationship satisfaction and longevity of university undergraduate students in a dating relationship of three or more months. During an initial testing session, participants completed measures assessing the degree to which they use the four styles of humor in their relationship, as well as questionnaires on relationship satisfaction, personality, and attachment. Over the next three or more weeks, participants completed six online questionnaires assessing their daily use of positive and negative humour styles, daily events in their dating relationship, and their current relationship satisfaction. Participants were contacted four to seven months later to determine whether they were still in the same dating relationship. Additionally, participants' partners completed measures on their relationships satisfaction. We hypothesize that affiliative and self-enhancing humor will be positively related with relationship satisfaction, while aggressive and self-defeating humor will be negatively related to relationship satisfaction. We also predict that humor styles will be related to relationship longevity. Additionally, we believe that individuals who view more satisfactory alternatives to their current relationship will be more likely to break up and that individuals who are high in the positive forms of humor will be more likely to perceive satisfactory alternatives to their relationship. Results and implications will be discussed.

Title: Humor in Positive Psychology: The Importance of Assessing Maladaptive as well as Adaptive Humor

Authors: Kim R. Edwards, University of Western Ontario & Rod. A. Martin, University of Western Ontario

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Humor has been identified in the field of positive psychology as one of 24 character strengths important for a life of happiness (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). A questionnaire developed to operationalize these strengths (Values in Action Inventory of Strengths) does not explicitly assess unhealthy expressions of humor nor does it differentiate among positive types of humour. In contrast, researchers using the Humor Styles Questionnaire (Martin et al., 2003), which captures both positive and negative uses of humour in daily life, have suggested that the absence of maladaptive humor (Aggressive and Self-Defeating styles) is as important as the presence of adaptive humor (Affiliative and Self-enhancing styles) for psychological health. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to compare humor styles with humor conceptualized as a strength in relation to several dimensions relevant to positive psychology: moral decision making, resilience, and approaches to happiness (engagement, pleasure, and meaning) using a sample of 147 university students. Regression analyses predicting moral decision making and resilience from the humor measures revealed that humor accounted for a significant amount of variability in morality (R2 = .21, p < .01) and resilience scores (R2 = .34, p < .01). Regression weights indicated that the absence of maladaptive humor was the most robust predictor of morality whereas the presence of adaptive humor was the most important predictor of resilience. Regarding happiness, analyses indicated that while humor as a strength was positively correlated with pleasure, the humour styles were differentially related to pleasure and meaning. Overall, these results provide evidence for the important role of both positive and negative forms of humor in relation to well-being, and suggest that positive psychologists should broaden their conceptualization of humor to capture maladaptive expressions. Implications of these findings will be discussed with regard to potential positive psychology humor exercises aimed at increasing happiness.

Title: Initiating and expressing intimacy through friendly insults: The development of the Prosocial Teasing Questionnaire (PTQ)

Authors: David J. Podnar & Rod A. Martin, University of Western Ontario

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Does the use of playfully aggressive teases help us to build and maintain relationships or is this a risky strategy that is likely to backfire? Since teasing is a rather ambiguous form of social communication, this is a complex question to answer. Because the intentions underlying teases are often ambiguous, it is difficult to ascertain whether teases are intended as veiled criticisms or affectionate jabs between friends. While the majority of teasing studies have addressed the negative effects of teasing, very few have provided support regarding its positive uses and the prosocial benefits it may provide. This paper will describe the development and initial validation of the Prosocial Teasing Questionnaire (PTQ), which measures prosocial teasing, a positively-intended form of teasing which aims to enhance bonding and social interactions. As part of an initial validation study, we asked 238 university students to complete the PTQ along with questionnaires assessing a wide range of personality, relationship and humor variables. The PTQ yielded a coefficient alpha of .90 and was positively correlated with all four scales of the Humor Styles Questionnaire, extraversion, sensation seeking, comfort in close friendships, and the tendency to produce and perceive indirect speech. In addition, several significant gender differences were found. In comparison to female prosocial teasers, male prosocial teasers reported greater relationship satisfaction with friends, were significantly more attuned to the indirect speech of others, more spontaneous, less emotional and neurotic, less sensitive to rejection and tended to report greater self-esteem. The results of this study will be discussed in terms of the potential relationship-enhancing effects facilitated by prosocial teasing and its tendency to be a more adaptive behaviour for males. These findings provide evidence for the validity of the PTQ to support its use as a tool to further understand the role of teasing in fostering relationships.

Title: The mediating role of humor styles in the link between vulnerability/resilience factors and psychological well-being

Authors: Rod A. Martin, University of Western Ontario, David J. A. Dozois, University of Western Ontario, Breanne Faulkner, University of Western Ontario, Shahe Kazarian, University of Western Ontario & Lamia Moghnie, University of Western Ontario

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A considerable amount of research using the Humor Styles Questionnaire has provided evidence that humor may have detrimental as well as beneficial effects on psychological well-being, depending on how it is used in everyday life. Two positive styles of humor (affiliative and self-enhancing) and two negative styles (aggressive and self-defeating) have been identified. More recently, researchers have begun to investigate whether these humor styles might also play a mediating role in the well-known associations between early resilience (e.g., secure parental attachment) and vulnerability (e.g., early maladaptive schemas) and later levels of psychosocial well-being. In this paper, we will summarize the findings of three recent studies along this line. The first study, using a sample of Lebanese college students, examined relationships among recalled parental warmth and rejection during childhood, humor styles, and subjective happiness. Mediation analyses revealed that self-enhancing humor was a significant mediator of the associations between early parental warmth and rejection and later happiness, suggesting that individuals who experience greater parental warmth and less rejection are more likely to develop a self-enhancing humor style, which in turn leads to greater subjective happiness. The second and third studies, using samples of Canadian university students, showed similar mediating effects of all four humor styles in the associations between several types of early maladaptive schemas (which are considered to be vulnerability factors for the development of psychopathology) and current levels of depressed mood, aggression, and hostility. Overall, these studies provide additional support for the view that individuals with particular vulnerabilities to psychopathology (and/or lower resilience) may be less likely to develop adaptive humor styles and more likely to develop maladaptive styles, which in turn contributes to the development of emotional distress or relationship difficulties. Thus, humor styles may be one of the mechanisms by which early vulnerabilities lead to later psychopathology, and early resilience factors lead to greater well-being.

Standup Comedy
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 511
Chair: Cornelia Cody, University of Maryland & New York University

Title: Crafting Liveness and Scripting Spontaneity: behind the scenes on the comedy club circuit

Authors: Susan Seizer, Indiana University

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Standup comics who perform live on the comedy club circuit use an array of techniques to make audiences appreciate the liveness of the event. For one, audiences will readily recognize that the experience of live stand-up is different from that of recorded shows because the comedian talks to people who are actually present in the room, and who all too often talk back. At the same time, however, a comic's set is just that: these are set, scripted shows, often repeated verbatim, and the appearance of spontaneity is largely a "set-up." This paper looks at what goes into setting up a performance that will convey dialogic immediacy, and at what kind of writing leaves no writerly trace. The key here is practice, and a stand-up comic can't practice without an audience, so integral is the audience to the genre. The only way to know if a line will get a laugh is to perform the line and see if it gets a laugh. Stage time is thus the only way to hone the craft of the stand-up comedian. This paper looks at the craftiness required to be a working comic on the central U.S. comedy club circuit, from all that "getting stage time" requires of a would-be comic, to the art of creating the illusion that one's act is an intimate, informal conversation rather than a scripted address. In the process, I trace the connections between the esteem in which notions of the "new" and the "natural," let alone the "authentic," are held in contemporary American popular entertainment and how this affects the presentation and work of road comics.

Title: New York City as Standup Comedy Joke

Authors: Cornelia Cody, University of Maryland & New York University

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There is a pivotal scene in Martin Scorcese's film, After Hours, where the protagonist, Paul, after a harrowing night in Soho, launches into a personal experience narrative about his bizarre evening up to that point. What is particularly telling about the scene is how Scorsese staged and shot it. Paul, as he tells his personal experience narrative, stands in front of a brick wall lit by track lighting. Both the camera shots and Paul's line delivery are quick and staccato in pace. He is, in fact, delivering a standup comedy monologue. This, Scorsese tells us, is how one processes a bizarre New York experience: You perform it as a standup routine. Standup is part of the folklore of the city. It has colored the way in which New Yorkers tell their stories. "Standup comedy has contributed to all of the mass media in America, from the silent films through radio, to the record industry and, of course, to television. Clearly it is a popular art that is central to American entertainment, but in the universal tradition of public joking rituals it is more than that as well; it is an important part of the nation's cultural life." (Mintz 1987:87) My paper explores how the New York City personal experience narrative uses the genre of standup in its performance. New York personal experience narratives highlight negative aspects of the city and city life and they rely on humor to do so. According to Ron Alexander (late editor of "Metropolitan Diary," a column in The New York Times), "New Yorkers have the best sense of humor in the world because they need it." Indeed, laughter is a significant part of all the narrative performances I have transcribed and it is certainly important to the scene from After Hours described above. What makes these stories funny, and how is this humor expressed? Do we laugh because of content, delivery, or both? And what might the humor in the New York City personal experience narratives achieve? How is New York City like a standup comedy joke?

Title: 'Like tiddlywinks for grown-ups': Sequence categorization, and the skillful accomplishment of comedy

Authors: Mike Lloyd, Victoria University of Wellington

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Comedians develop and hone a persona that reflects their particular type of humour, thus greatly aiding in the economy that so typifies comedy performances. This paper provides a case study of a well-known New Zealand comedian called Ewen Gilmour, whose persona is a 'Westie' - someone from the working class area of West Auckland. This persona has equivalents in most countries, its central characteristics being hard-drinking, ready-swearing, stereotypical working class behaviour, that also strongly adheres to traditional gender roles. The case study is based on a short comedy performance filmed in front of a live audience and then screened on public television. It is argued that the performance features a potential disjuncture: the Westie comedian narrates activities that he and a 'mate' engage in that could be interpreted as 'homoerotic'. Nevertheless, the performance ends with the Westie persona under no apparent threat of misinterpretation, that is, his character is definitely not gay. This 'agreement' stems in part from dynamic cooperation between the comedian and audience, which similar to many social activities, is more tacit than explicit. Yet, this cooperation and understanding has to be somehow achieved; it is important to understand exactly how.Consequently, the paper pays careful attention to the sequential development of the joke and the categorization of the central characters.

Title: The Wit of Witnessing: How African American Standup Comedy Incites Personal, Social, and Political Change

Authors: Eden Wales Freedman, University of New Hampshire

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In academic discourse, humorous literature is often dismissed as trivial. "The world likes humor but treats it patronizingly." E.B. White famously wrote: we decorate our "serious artists with laurel," our "wags with Brussel sprouts." When treated seriously, comedy—especially when considered in conversation with traumatic literature and theory—tends to be read as either a form of escapism on the part of the traumatized subject (e.g., in the works of Freud) or, as humorist Paul Lewis argues, as societally dangerous and damaging: celebrating destructive values, distorting reality, and denying painful truths. This essay, in turn, explores how the use of dark humor in standup comedy routines can benefit not only traumatized speakers but their listeners as well, granting comic and audience alike the opportunity to witness or work through both personal and cultural traumas. Evidence of this trend is located in the comedy acts of members of various historically marginalized groups, e.g., in Native American, African American, Jewish, Women's, and Queer standup routines. This paper traces the particular use of dark humor in African American standup, from the work of Dick Gregory through Chris Rock, to demonstrate how the communal language of laughter, shared in the "safe" space of racially integrated comedy clubs, has allowed black comics to witness African American trauma, history, and culture, both within and without their own cultural milieus. This investigation reveals that humorous writing does not have to reflect mere triviality, escapism, or depravity but can also prompt personal healing, encourage political activism, and inspire social change.

Crisis and Humor
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 505
Chair: Sammy Basu, Willamette University

Title: The Death and Resurrection of Louis CK: Report on a Bombing in Dublin

Authors: Eddie Naessens, Trinity College Dublin

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In 2008, American stand-up comedian Louis CK embarked on his maiden tour of the UK and Ireland. On the opening night of the tour he played support to Irish-American comedian Des Bishop at the Carlsberg Comedy Festival at Dublin's Iveagh Gardens. Though well-known in the US, CK was an unknown to many of the first-night audience in Dublin. For this and other reasons he bombed on stage. On his blog following the gig CK wrote the following: "I have to say that, for bombing, I bombed well. For the first ten minutes or so, I lost my composure, I gave them my timing and had salt in my eyes and throat. But then I slowly pulled back on the stick and righted things. I got back into the pocket, to where I know what I'm doing and I know I'm doing it well. I got my timing back to where I wanted it. I felt lucid and honest, which is how I need to feel on stage. But the show didn't get better." In this paper Irish comedian Eddie Naessens of Trinity College Dublin presents a crash report that draws on both academic literature and the views of comedians and industry professionals. Reflecting on ideas of rapport, psychological resilience, and cultural framing he considers the elements of stand-up comedy that are beyond the script and attempts to unpack what is commonly described as the "intuitive skills" of the seasoned comedian.

Title: Crisis and the criticism of humor: from C.S. Lewis via Jerry Lewis to Paul Lewis

Authors: Sammy Basu, Willamette University

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In this paper I want to reflect on the deeper connections and tensions between the humor positions of three Lewis's: the literary scholar and lay theologian C.S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters (1942) (and related works), comic actor Jerry Lewis including notably, in his film comedy, Cracking Up (1982/83), and the humor scholar Paul Lewis in his remarkable book, Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict (2006). I will link them around the themes of personal and collective crises and humor as a response. In particular, I am interested in exploring the extent to which the presumption of 'crisis' (conflict, emergency, war) generates both a temptation to escape into optimistic comic inanities on the one hand and a reactionary critical impatience with humor as a constitutive element in political life on the other. I will venture this analysis informed by the anti-liberal theorist of crisis, Carl Schmitt, and specifically his brief critique of irony in Political Romanticism (1919). My hope is to defend the possibilities of political humor even in times of crises.

Title: Quirky America: there's good news & bad news

Authors: Joe Boskin, Boston University

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Abstract: The contemporary parlous state of the economy has trigged off an ongoing spate of edgy, gallows humor. Its primary form has taken the vernacular shape, and sense, of the good news & bad news riposte, the expression itself invoked by politicians, economists and television anchors, alike. Over the past several years the print media has frequently highlighted the phrase with headlines also conveying its import: "In 2010 the Stock Market Will Surely Rise -- Unless it Falls" was the wry prediction in The Boston Globe in its positive/negative assessment of 2011. Combining a sense of realism tinged with droll whimsy, the good news/bad news expression, and its attendant humor, probably came into play in jokes and quips some sixty-odd years ago. Paralleling virtually every aphorism together with jokes and joke-cycles, this social coda most assuredly cropped up from deep within the collective cultural soil. It would appear that the good news/bad news scenario is directly connected to a national bipolar syndrome. Which is to say, deeply embedded in the American psyche are traits of exaggeration, modes of exuberance that start off high, and then suddenly, dive precipitously low. This paper delves into the roots, and current usage, of the good news/bad news pattern. A spate of illustrations from cartoons, greeting cards, jokes, and the like over the decades underscores its historical treatise.

Japanese Culture
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 515
Chair: John Rucynski Jr., Okayama University

Title: The First Japanese Laugh: The Striptease Laugh Restores the Sunshine to the Earth

Authors: Shinya Morishita, Kansai University

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The first Japanese laugh that I call is the laugh depicted for the first time in the first Japanese book Kojiki (A.D.712). Kojiki consists of Japanese ancient myth and history. The first laugh appears in the highlight of the myth. Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is the goddess of dawn and revelry in the Shinto religion of Japan. She famously relates to the tale of the missing sun deity, Amaterasu Omikami. The following is the digest of the tale (quoted from Wikipedia). Amaterasu's brother, the storm god Susano'o, had vandalized her sacred building and brutally killed one of her maidens due to a quarrel between. In turn, Amaterasu became terrified of his wrath and retreated into the Heavenly Rock Cave, Amano-Iwato. The world, without the illumination of the sun, became dark and the gods could not lure Amaterasu out of her hiding place. The clever Uzume overturned a tub near the cave entrance and began a dance on it, tearing her clothing in front of the other deities. They considered this so comical that they laughed heartily at the sight. Amaterasu heard them, and peered out to see what all fuss was about. When she opened the cave, she saw her glorious reflection in a mirror which Uzume had placed on a tree, and slowly emerged from her hiding spot. At the moment, the god Ame-no-Tajikaraowo-no-mokoto dashed forth and closed the cave behind her, rushing to budge so that she could no longer retreat. Another god tied a magic shirikume rope across the entrance. The two deities then asked Amaterasu to rejoin the divine. She agreed and light was restored to the earth. In the presentation, I will introduce the tale more in detail and analyze the symbolic meaning of the first Japanese laugh from the perspective of the folklore.

Title: Gigaku: The Smiling Masks Parade. Where they came from, where they went to?

Authors: Heiyo Nagashima, Japan Society for Laughter & Humor Studies

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The oldest comic play which was appeared in Japan is Gi-gaku, a sort of parade pantomime praising Buddha were born in ancient China, come through Korea in the7th century. Gi-gaku has many riddles: which route they took from China to Japan? How are their performances? There are remained many laughing head-wear masks and only one theatre record written in 10th century. Historically Gi-gaku was perished after 400 years, but they left significant impact on Japanese later culture. In my report, laughing head masks of Gi-gaku are compared to masks of another Asian performing arts, and shown influences to the later Japanese entertainments such as Bu-gaku, Kagura and Japanese treasure Noh-gaku.

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 511
Chair: Donald Casadonte, Columbus State Community College

Title: What's Cybernetics Got To Do with Humor Research?

Authors: Faisal Kadri, Artificial Psychology

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The subjectivity of humor is accepted on an intuitive level yet the mainstream research definition of humor: the resolution of incongruity, apparently depends on objective description of incongruity. The requirement for objectivity is understandable in the context of producing reliable and accurate academic research, but building a strong understanding of real human behavioral phenomena requires modeling all contributing human factors, including subjective factors. Cybernetics is a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of information processing in humans, animals and machines. Old or first order cybernetics saw information processing in purely objective terms, but the newer trend known as Second Order Cybernetics (SOC) takes into account the attitudes and effects of the observer. One of SOC's roots is Humberto Maturana's 1959 seminal article titled "What the Frog's Eye Tells the Frog's Brain" in which he demonstrated that the frog's visual system does not so much represent reality as construct it, and concluded that what's true for frogs must also hold for humans. SOC developed into constructivist epistemology and includes diverse concepts such as the cognitive closeness of the nervous system and self-referencing of the observer. Projecting SOC onto humor research, a constructivist approach may see the isolation of incongruity as an objective cognitive factor from the nervous system, and see humor as a neural structuring of incongruity with self-referencing with respect to internal motivational factors. In other words, the processing of the incongruity in humor may not be related to its objective cognitive properties but to its motivational interpretation.

Title: A Qualitative Neuro-mathematical Model of Script-Switching in the Prefrontal Cortex

Authors: Donald Casadonte, Columbus State Community College

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The basis for the Raskin-Attardo model of the linguistic processing of humor is based, in part, on the notion that two opposed scripts (linguistically stored structured event complexes, i. e., expected behaviors lurking within each of the specific contexts described in a narrative) are generated during the telling of a joke and the punchline serves to activate switching between the two script. How does this script switching occur and why should it occur? These are two questions which the Raskin-Attardo Generalized Theory of Verbal Humor does not address in detail. In this talk we will look at a plausible qualitative model of a network of neurons that model the two scripts using Wood, et. al.'s notion of a script being what they call a Structured Event Complex ( SEC). We will argue that if the two scripts are modeled (using the Cowan-Ermentrout model of large population of neurons) as pairs of an excitatory-inhibitory network of neurons, then, under the right conditions, switching can occur between the two networks. We will show how this output may be coupled to the respiratory center to produce not only cognitive switching, but laughter, as well. We will present a computer simulation of a simplified model of script switching where the switching between the two scripts forms the basis for the generation of transient central pattern generators (one for each joke occurrence) in the prefrontal cortex. Finally, we will speculate on whether or not the neurodynamics of the three classical humor theories of script-switching, superiority changing, and pleasure generation can be united under a single neurodynamic process model.

Title: A Third Level (Or, A Fourth Level, Maybe)

Authors: Tadashi Kumagai, Fukui Prefectural University

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Wallace Chafe's idea, i.e. "the feeling of non-seriousness," which was expressed in Chafe(2007), is not the 'feeling,' but the attitude or the 'posture' of mind from the addressee to the adresser who tries (or is trying , or tried) to crate humor. Usually, this process is so sudden during the understanding in the brain that it has been ignored, both by the humor-makers, and, more importantly, by the people who have been studying humor. In this presenatation, the author attempts to expain his position by giving several examples, which will prove that there is THE THIRD LEVEL in the recognition of humor, which begins BEFORE the humor processing mechanism starts to work. From this viewpoint, humor theories which deal with only linguistic mechanisms should be reconsidered and revised , and cannot be held true unless the addressee's frame of minf or the situation where she or he is posited is fully made clear. Indeed, people 'laugh' BEFORE something funny happens in front of him.

Sexist Humor
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 527
Chair: Eric Shouse, East Carolina University

Title: The Influence of Attitudes and Social Identity in the Perception of Sexist Humor

Authors: Annie Kochersberger, Western Carolina University

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Humor researchers have emphasized the role that sex differences and attitudes toward women play in moderating appreciation of sexist humor—humor that disparages women. According to social identity theory, men and women construct gender identities in an effort to positively differentiate themselves from one another. As a result, they prefer humor that positively distinguishes the in-group from the out-group (e.g., Hemmasi, Graf, & Russ, 1994). Men view sexist humor as funnier and less offensive than women view it (e.g., Love & Deckers, 1989). Superiority theories suggest that such gender differences may be mediated by attitudes toward women (Zillmann, 1976/1996). Accordingly, both men and women have reported more amusement with sexist humor insofar as they held sexist attitudes (Ford, 2000; Thomas & Esses, 2004). A closer look at these findings, however, suggests that the relationship between sexist attitudes and amusement with sexist humor differs for men and women. New analyses of data collected by Ford (2000) revealed that across three studies, there was not a consistent relationship between sexist attitudes and amusement with sexist humor for women. Unlike men, women have the dual status of both the subject and the object of sexist humor (Greenwood & Isbell, 2002). We propose that, as the object of sexist humor, women appreciate it only insofar as they have sexist attitudes and dis-identify with women as a social group (e.g., Middleton, 1959). Thus, gender differences in sexist humor appreciation are mediated by both attitudes toward women and dis-identification with women (the humor target). We conducted a study to test our hypothesis. Replicating previous findings, we found a significant relationship between gender and amusement with sexist jokes, B= -.31, p < .05. Further, the relationship between gender and amusement remained significant when statistically holding constant sexist attitudes, B= -.19, p < .05. When we included identification with women as an additional variable in the regression analysis, the effect of gender became non-significant, B = .13, p > .05. These findings suggest that gender differences in sexist humor appreciation were mediated by differences in attitudes toward women and dis-identification with women as a social group.

Title: A Comic Rejoinder to American Culture's Hegemony of Sensitivity: White, Hyper-Masculinity in HBO's Comedy Series Eastbound & Down

Authors: Michael Geiman, East Carolina University & Eric Shouse, East Carolina University

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The metrosexual movement of the early 2000s has promoted a new vision of white masculinity, championing the sensitive, well-dressed, appearance-oriented man. Even television situation comedies, which until recently tended to revolve around men who embraced the traditional norms of American masculinity, have been affected by this trend. Television characters that do not fit the metrosexual profile (e.g., Al Bundy from Married with Children and Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners), have begun to fall out of favor with network executives. However, a different, more vulgar vision of American masculinity can be found on pay cable. This paper examines the masculine buffoonery of ex-professional baseball player turned middle school PE teacher Kenny Powers on the HBO series Eastbound & Down. We argue the success of this program demonstrates that many white males continue to identify (at least partially) with the overweight, uber-masculine buffoon despite the apparent triumph of his appearance-driven, metrosexual counterpart. An analysis of Eastbound & Down reveals how the program revels in hyper-masculine themes, grotesque vulgarity, and offensive comments that serve as a comic rejoinder to the metrosexual and American culture's broader "hegemony of sensitivity."

Title: Not all groups are equal: Disparagement humor differentially fosters discrimination against social groups

Authors: Thomas Ford, Western Carolina University

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Sexist humor fosters discrimination against women by communicating an implicit "prejudiced norm"—a norm of tolerance of discrimination—that allows people to "release" their sexism without fear of social reprisal (Ford et al., 2008). We propose that sexist humor derives power to foster discrimination from society's ambivalent attitudes toward women. Many Americans espouse egalitarian attitudes while harboring negative affect toward women (e.g., Swim, Aikin, Hall, & Joly, 1995). Thus, sexism is shifting from being completely acceptable to being completely unacceptable. Social norms dictate that expressions of sexism are unacceptable; sexism must be suppressed under most circumstances. However, people can feel free to release their prejudice if immediate social norms permit it (e.g., because of disparaging humor, Ford & Ferguson, 2004). Accordingly, we hypothesized that disparaging humor fosters the "release" of prejudice against only groups in this social position of "shifting acceptability"—groups for whom society's attitudes are ambivalent (e.g., women, homosexuals). The expression of prejudice against groups like racists is socially acceptable and should not depend on events like disparaging humor to justify it. Consequently, disparaging humor should have little effect on the release of prejudice against them. Our study thus addresses the generality of the prejudice-releasing effects of disparaging humor. One hundred sixty four participants completed measures of prejudice against homosexuals and racists (Cotrell & Neuberg, 2005). Participants read four jokes that disparaged homosexuals, or racists, or that contained no disparaging content. Next, participants were given the opportunity to discriminate against either homosexuals or racists. They allocated budget cuts to four student organizations including one that supported either a racist agenda or a homosexual agenda. Results supported our hypothesis. Prejudice against homosexuals predicted the amount of the total budget participants cut from the homosexual organization upon exposure to anti-homosexual jokes (ß = .61, p < .001) but not neutral jokes (ß = .10, ns) or anti-racist jokes (ß = .13, ns). Attitudes toward racists, however, did not differentially predict budget cuts allocated to the racist organization upon exposure to anti-racist jokes (ß = .30, ns), neutral jokes (ß = .12, ns) or anti-homosexual jokes (ß = .12, ns).

Cartoons & Animation
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 527
Chair: Robert Mankoff, The New Yorker Magazine

Title: Japanese Reactions to The Simpsons "30 Minutes Over Tokyo"

Authors: John Rucynski Jr., Okayama University

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Having recently celebrated its 20th year on the air, The Simpsons has undoubtedly established itself as a mainstay of American culture. In addition to being responsible for "some of the most sophisticated comedy and satire ever to appear on American television" (Cantor, 1999), the show is also entrenched as a part of American cultural literacy, supported by a 2006 survey showing that Americans are more familiar with the show and its characters than the fundamental freedoms of the First Amendment (McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum 2006). A show with such attributes is a dream for EFL (English-as-a-Foreign-Language) teachers, who are always looking for new and unique ways to introduce American culture and humor to their students. One teacher has called the show "a treasure trove of resource material for the ESL/EFL classroom" (Meilleur, 2004). Despite this potential for introducing interesting elements of American culture, there are also obvious challenges to using The Simpsons with non-native speakers of English. Senses of humor obviously vary from culture to culture. Although The Simpsons is well-known around the world, the humor is not exactly the most accessible, especially considering the dark and satirical nature of much American humor. In addition to the barrier of the sophistication of the humor, how will students react when it is their own culture being parodied? This presentation will focus on Japanese university students' reactions to The Simpsons episode "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo." Consistent with episodes in which the family visits foreign countries such as Australia and Brazil, this episode is ripe with exaggerated generalizations about the host culture. However, who is being made fun of? Despite the obviousness for American viewers that the episode is more making fun of the ignorance of the average American's knowledge of foreign cultures than poking fun at the Japanese, this irony was lost on the Japanese censors, who banned the episode from being shown on Japanese TV and also left it off the DVD box set. In this presentation, the presenter will share survey results of Japanese students' reactions to the episode. Additionally, he will focus on methods used to prepare students to understand both the humor used in The Simpsons and, in particular, the controversial contents of this episode. Finally, results of a discussion between Japanese students and American students who viewed the episode together will be shared.

Title: Online Responses to the New Yorker Cartoon Contest: An Insider's Take

Authors: Robert Mankoff, The New Yorker Magazine

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As the cartoon editor of The New Yorker I created the caption contest in 1998 and have been running and judging it since then, collecting and analyzing data from over 250 contests and one and a half million entries with many interesting results about user generated content in the field of humor. The presentation will address how the contest has been hijacked for the purposes of the creation of meme humor by, for example, mashing it up with Kanye West tweets and Charlie Sheen rants. Also included willbe such phenomenon as data from the anti-caption contest in which the objective is to write the worst possible caption as well as other sites which use New Yorker cartoon material for the purposes of creating meta-humor. Initially as cartoon editor of The New Yorker and a cartoonist I resented this but over time as a student of humor I found it very interesting as a manifestation of the crowd sourcing of humor and the creation of idiosyncratic humor sensibilities within social networks that then spread depending on their memeability. While on the face of it the type of humor represented by the reactions to the contest seem absurd, once you understand the larger context there is an underlying sensibility that makes the incongruity not only appropriate but sophisticated because the mashups occur on many different levels which, when understood, make the absurdity coherent.

Title: Translation of Humour in Crayon Shin Chan: A Pilot Study

Authors: Hanim Hafiza, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Hasuria Che Omar, Universiti Sains Malaysia & Haslina Haroon, Universiti Sains Malaysia

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Comic books, especially manga from Japan, are known all around the world and have been translated into various languages. Translation of comic books can be seen a challenging task for translators since various factors need to be considered before they can be translated into another language. Factors such as verbal elements, semiotics, limited space, technical format, types of comic books and background knowledge of the target readers might be identified as part of the constraints for this type of translation. This paper will observe the translation methods used in Crayon Shin Chan comic book from Japanese into Malay. The focus point of discussion will be on the humour elements found in the text, and the appropriateness of the methods used by the translator according to the methods proposed by a few famous translation scholars, such as Newmark, 1988, will also be looked into.

Humor Use in Education
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 505
Chair: Larry Ventis, College of William & Mary

Title: Humor in the Classroom: Can Teachers Use It with Class?

Authors: Larry W. Barron, Grand Canyon University & Bruce H. Glenn, Arizona State University

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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate how middle-school and high-school teachers use humor in their classrooms, and how their students respond to these attempts. Teachers and students were sampled from a K-12 private school in Phoenix, Arizona. A review of the literature on the uses and abuses of humor was included, along with prescriptive and proscriptive suggestions for the proper use of humor in a classroom setting.

Title: Psychotherapists' Experience of Humor in their own Psychotherapy

Authors: Larry Ventis, College of William & Mary & Fredrick P. Frieden, College of William & Mary

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Pope (2010) surveyed 800 psychotherapists, seeking response from any who had been in the role of client in psychotherapy themselves. They were requested to respond to a lengthy set of questions pertaining to their own personal experience in psychotherapy. He received replies from 476 respondents. Although the topics surveyed were quite broad, there were two questions pertaining to reported experience of humor in psychotherapy. When asked, "In your own personal therapy, how often (if at all) did your therapist: "Use humor in an appropriate way", 76.7 per cent chose "never", and only 3.7 per cent chose either "sometimes" or "often". For whether their therapist used humor in an inappropriate way, 5.2 per cent chose "never", and a combined 78.5 per cent chose "sometimes" or "often". Personally, I found these results quite counter intuitive and even perplexing. Although Pope (personal communication) received a very small number of spontaneously offered brief examples of how humor had occurred in therapy, these were not a part of the survey and not reported in the write-up of the research findings. To follow up this remarkable set of findings, I am conducting a survey of psychotherapists using the same two items, among others, but in addition, requesting brief anonymous descriptive examples of what psychotherapist clients have identified as appropriate uses of humor and in appropriate uses of humor in their own personal psychotherapy. The results of the present survey will be used, first, to better understand Pope's results, cited above. Second, the results should be helpful in the future training of psychotherapists, to provide examples of relatively appropriate or inappropriate inclusions of humor in psychotherapy, as perceived by presumably knowledgeable clients.

Title: Humor Creation Process Characteristics in Lecturers and Teachers' Lessons in Higher Education

Authors: Varda Inglis, Academic College in Wingate

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The purpose of this study was to analyze four characteristics of humor in teaching: Timing of humor in the lesson, source of humor clue that the teacher is using to create humor, consistency of humor use by the teacher and correlation between humor evaluation and number of humor episodes the teacher produces during a class session. Participants were 34 lecturers from colleges and universities who were identified by their students as having (28) or not having (6) a sense of humor. Data were collected from 735 video clips excerpted from 91 filmed lessons taught by the lecturers. Length and location of humor in the lesson and source for humor clues were encoded, judges evaluated degree of humor in video clips. Additionally, 1530 students observed these lecturers and evaluated their sense of humor. Ten percent of 91 lessons were short lessons (45 minutes approximately) and the rest were 90 minutes long. It was found that at the first 5 minutes in the long lesson the teacher used the same amount of humor episodes as in each of the next 15 minutes. In the short lesson 37.5% of humor episodes appear in the first 5 minutes of the lesson, at the last session of the lesson (30-45 minutes) the number of humor clips is low, while at the same time in the long lesson the most number of clips were encoded. Humor clues came from teaching materials (43%), students (35%), from both – materials and students (9%), satiation (5%), teaching environment (5%) and self humor of the teacher (2%). Results show the dynamics in the classroom: the first 5 minutes of the lesson the teacher produce more humor relatively the rest of the lesson, probably to create bond with the students. The teacher creates humor consistently in all his lessons and is appreciated more when he produce more humor. The present research enlightens the process in the lesson with humor which explains the contribution of humor to students learning as appears in the literature.

Humorous Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 511
Chair: Don Nilsen, Arizona State University

Title: Humorous Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature

Authors: Don L. F. Nilsen, Arizona State University & Alleen Nilsen, Arizona State University

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All names are lexically packed for gender and ethnicity, and age, and belief system, but humorous names are even more lexically packed. Humorous names are like the punch lines of jokes; they are dramatic, and they are epiphinal. In The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie's names tell something about Indians. Junior Polatkin was always being picked on, so his Indian names became Junior Falls Down, or Bloody Nose, or Steal-His-Lunch, or Cries-Like-a-White Boy. In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game Valentine Wiggins is nicknamed Demosthenes, and Peter Wiggin's net name is John Lock. In The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, has a character named Esperanza, which means very different things to different people. In the Artemus Fowl books, Eoin Colfer has a thieving dwarf named Mulch Diggums who was charged with "Digging and Entering." Adam Farmer in Robert Cormier's I Am the Cheese is like the cheese at the end of the poem, both in "the cheese stands alone," and in "the rat takes the cheese." In Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book the protagonist is named Nobody Owens; there are many characters named Jack, and Mrs. Slaughter's gravestone is so worn that it now reads "LAUGHTER." All of Lemony Snicket's books are dedicated to Beatrice, who is the same Beatrice that Dante dedicated his Divine Comedy to. We'll talk about the names in Yann Martel's Life of Pi, and those in Louis Sachar's Holes, and we'll talk about the names in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, and we'll conclude with the answer to the "Tom Marvolo" Riddle.

Title: Layers of Naming and Responsibility in Saki's Short Stories

Authors: Lorene M. Birden, Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Dijon

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This presentation takes as its departure point a comment in Tom Docherty's Reading (Absent) Character about naming and responsibility. It places this notion in the contest of Saki's short stories, and through them in the comic context as a whole. General illustrations of Saki's gift for naming characters lead to presentation of two specific stories, "The Unrest-Cure" and "The Schartz-Metterklume Method", which involve the extra "layer" mentioned in the title, as the main characters receive or take on new names for the duration of the story. The study links the author's gesture of naming to Docherty's comments on responsibility and to the relationship of havoc-wreaker to victim and havoc-wreaker to self.

Children and Humor
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 505
Chair: Sibe Doosje, Utrecht University

Title: Hospital clowning for children: A pilot study

Authors: Sibe Doosje, Utrecht University

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Clowning for children in hospitals has increased in the last few decades. Although training clowns to do this work has reached a professional level, little is known about the effects of clowning interventions on sick children. In a pilot study 14 children (4-11 years of age) and their parent have been asked to indicate their mood before and after clowning interventions. Also, clown pairs' play was videotaped to assess both the types of interventions clowns used as well as the emotional and behavioral responses (e.g. laughing and eye contact) of the children to these interventions. Despite the low N and low reliability of some measures, negative mood decreased and positive mood was high and remained stable. Clowning interventions seemed to enable children to forget about their role as a patient for a while. Also, the interventions seemed to strengthen their feelings of control over the situation. The possible influence of other factors like age and gender of the children and the level of experience of clowns will be discussed.

Title: Gender Difference in Children's Humorous Coping Strategies in Stressful Conditions: A Comparison between 8-year-old and 10-year-old children

Authors: Fang-Wei Wu, National Cheng Kung University, Yu-Ting Huang, National Cheng Kung University, Jon-Fan Hu, National Cheng Kung University & Hsueh-Chih Chen, National Taiwan Normal University

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Humor can be an effective way to cope with our daily stresses or an alternative method for problem-solving. Some previous studies found that boys tend to use more humor than girls do for general social interaction. In contrast, some found that there were no difference between boys and girls in daily life. In addition, some researchers specifically suggested that different contexts should be pivot for the influence of gender differences on the use of humor. The purpose of this study was to see if different genders in the stressful conditions may have different responses preferences for humor in young schoolers. The participants of the present study were two groups of Taiwanese 8-year-old children and 10-year-old children which were thirty male and female. To evoke the children's stressful responses, seven stressful conditions which are reported as the most impacting life conditions to children were adopted (Sharrer, & Ryan-Wenge, 1995). In the first stage of the study, the participating children were required to imagine that they were in the seven stressful conditions described by sentences. In the second stage, they were instructed to choose one out of two pictures (humorous or non-humorous) as their preferred choice to cope with the condition. The result revealed that the boys tended to use humor in the most of the stressful conditions than girls, and older children much preferred to use humor than younger children. However, older girls seemed to have greater increase of use humor as their coping strategy for the stressful conditions than older boys. Overall, these results consist with previous findings that different social contexts may delineate gender differences in young children's humor preferences and age also would deploy its influence upon gender. Further to that, the present study clearly show that, in various significant stressful conditions, boys tend to use humor as a strategy to cope with problems more than girls and older children prefer to use humor more than younger children. This research substantially highlights the topic that gender difference may be influenced by important social factors to children.

Female Humorists
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 515
Chair: Alice Sheppard, University of Maine at Presque Isle

Title: Laura E. Foster (1871- 1920) and Betty Swords (1917-2005), San Francisco Bay Area Cartoonists

Authors: Alice Sheppard, University of Maine at Presque Isle

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Nearly half a century separated their births, yet each struggled for artistic accomplishment, balancing marriage and feminism at the time of first wave and second wave women's movements, respectively. Both were born in California, had older siblings, and fathers who migrated westward seeking economic opportunity. Each explored diverse avenues for her art before launching a cartooning career at middle age. Likewise, each discovered feminism as middle-aged, married women. Laura Elizabeth Foster was born in San Francisco in 1871. Her family moved to Alameda, where her father launched a construction business. As a young adult, Laura Foster was employed as a San Francisco newspaper illustrator. She was 35 when the great earthquake and fire disrupted her life, and she departed for New York City. Soon her cartoons became a regular feature of the old humor magazines, Life and Judge. Her cartoon characters included fashionable women, couples, children, and cupids. Her cartoons targeting suffrage were as vitriolic as any. By 1915 Foster, now married to Wall Street broker Donald C. Monroe, began producing pro-suffrage art. In "Judges Artistic Alphabet" the writer quipped, "the Cupids she pens, Are better than men's, And she's making her mark as a 'Suff.'" Elizabeth ("Betty") Edgemond was born in 1917 and raised in Oakland, where her father was an educator. After graduating from the University of California, she hoped to become a fashion designer. She married geophysicist Leonard Swords, and recognized her professional opportunities as limited as they moved constantly for his oil explorations. Betty taught herself cartooning and submitted her work to popular magazines, including the Saturday Evening Post. Her work was appreciated, and reprinted in major collections. The 1960s witnessed Second Wave Feminism, and Betty joined the wave. Her work shifted to feminist themes, of which her Male Chauvinist Pig Calendar is representative. She increasingly examined humor and women's position in it, offering her reflections in published forums. This presentation will consider how each woman's accomplishments and contributions were influenced by her talent, birth cohort, and life circumstances.

Title: Women's humor in Brazil: a question of lack of or invisibility?

Authors: Alba Valéria Silva, Universidade Federal da Bahia

There is a low representation of women authors in anthologies of humorous texts and reference books about humor in Brazil. An analysis of some of the most relevant of these works, published in Brazil between 1969 and 2010, shows that the number of women authors in such publications never exceed 5% of the total number of authors, which led to the question of whether this low percentage is due to lack of or invisibility of women's humor in Brazil. In order to evaluate these two hypotheses, bibliographic and documental research was conducted, from 2005 to 2008, which showed strong evidence of the latter and pointed to some cultural aspects that are non-conducive to women's humor in Brazil as reasons for the phenomenon. Based on the works of American authors, such as Regina Barreca (Last Laughes: Perspectives on Women and Comedy; 1988; They Used to Call Me Snow White, but I Drifted: Women's Strategic Use of Humor, 1991; The Penguin Book of Women's Humor, 1996), Gail Finney (Look Who's Laughing: Gender and Comedy, 1994), and Nancy Walker (Women's Humor and American Culture, 1988), this paper exposes this issue and analyzes the relationship between women and humor, at the same time as it exposes the lack of theoretical discussion about this matter in Brazil.

Humor in Film
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 511
Chair: Tammy Vigil, Boston University

Title: Gettin' Hitched: Humor and Didactic Functions of Comedy in the Movie Hitch

Authors: Tammy Vigil, Boston University

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This essay attempts to disentangle the commonly conflated concepts of comedy and humor. Looking at comedy as a rhetorical frame of acceptance, humor becomes an interesting rhetorical strategy that may help enhance the didactic functions of comic works. Using the popular romantic comedy Hitch as a rhetorical case study, this paper demonstrates the possibility for serious romantic lessons to be taught, either intentionally or inadvertently, through seemingly innocuous humor-filled entertainment.

Title: The Last Laugh (1924): Reading film through the phenomenology of its laughter

Authors: Sammy Basu, Willamette University

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Scholars of humor engage in the close and systematic study of the phenomenology of laughter as it is manifest in social contexts of joking and banter from the everyday and conversational to the formal and ritualized. I will argue, by demonstration, that attending closely to the expressive and communicative presence of laughter in the character dynamics of a film and to the associated audience experiences, can reveal currents in the Zeitgeist, and thereby also layers of social meaning that might otherwise not register. The film in question is The Last Laugh (1924), directed by F.W. Murnau from a screenplay by Carl Mayer, and starring Emil Jannings. It has long been recognized as one of the classic silent expressionist films of the Weimar Berlin era, for its innovative use of the subjectivist 'unchained camera', sets, lighting and studied absence of inter-titles. It is an affecting masterpiece, with an (in)famous 'happy ending' though it is not a comedy per se. Part of its dramatic effectiveness, I will argue, involves its subtle depictions of the dynamics of relational humor as manifestations of the German post-war collective mentality of undeserved trauma and of the cultural momentum of expectations. In brief, the laughter of the film proves almost prophetic of the Nazi regime.

Political Correctness and Offensive Jewish Jokes About the Sexes
4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CGS 527
Chair: Joyce Saltman, Southern Connecticut State University

Title: Jewish Jokes about Jewish sex roles and gentile jokes about stupid blondes and stupid athletes

Authors: Christie Davies, University of Reading

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Jewish jokes about Jewish wives and JAPs make them out to be averse to sex and manipulative. Jewish jokes about Jewish men depict them as incompetant at and despising sports and in humor as disliking guns, hunting and adventure, which makes them thoroughly unAmerican. Behind these jokes though is to be found another humor about goyishe kop (the gentile lack of brains) and goyishe naches (trivial and foolish gentile pleasures like sport) and about over-sexed shiksas (gentile women). These will all be linked to generic non-Jewish jokes about dumb and promiscuous blondes and about stupid athletes and marines. Conclusion: there is a general humorous antithesis between intelligence and rationality on the one hand and conventional American sex roles on the other. Jewish jokes about Jewish women and Jewish men are simply a special case of this, ones invented by members of a group famed for its intellectual and commercial acheivements. A brief postscript mention will be made of how such humor is linked in curious ways to the bizarre ideology of the anti-semites.

Title: Political Correctness: Bah Humbug!

Authors: Joyce Saltman, Southern Connecticut State University

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This session is designed to look at the entire field of PC in Humor, to determine how far afield we have actually moved as a society in censoring jokes and anecdotes dealing with ethnicity, race, disabilites, size and other topics of the day. Some of the materials presented will be offensive, in an effort to explore possible ways of handling and/or preventing the relaying of such humor. The presenter wil draw a distinction between her view of destructive and equalizing humor.

Plenary: A Decade of Dark Humor: How Comedy, Irony, and Satire Shaped Post-9/11 America
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM CGS Sleeper Auditorium
Chair: Paul Lewis, Boston College

Title: Plenary Overview

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The panel celebrates the publication of a collection of essays on post-9/11 comedy, irony, and satire. One of the co-editors (Viveca Greene) and 2 contributors (Lanita Jacobs and Paul Lewis) will offer brief papers based on their chapters and then engage in a discussion that will begin with a response by Giselinde Kuiper (another contributor) and then open up to include the audience.

Title: Ironic Interventions in a Post-9/11 World

Authors: Viveca Greene, Hampshire College

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A number of contributors to A Decade of Dark Humor explore how humorists and ironists challenged the Bush administration and mainstream media's framing of the 9/11 attacks—a frame Jaime Warner characterizes in Chapter 4 of the volume as "prophetic dualism": effectively, "either you are with us or with the terrorists." In this paper I revisit the issue of how ironic critique functions in a post-9/11 world with particular attention to how even relatively "stable" (and seemingly progressive) ironic texts can reinforce destructive binaries and obscure alternative cultural perspectives.

Title: "Can you feel me?": Race and Authenticity in African American Standup Comedy

Authors: Lanita Jacobs, University of Southern California

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If there is one call that has emerged from my fieldwork on African American humor – one thread that unites insights born from a quest to make the familiar unfamiliar – it is this: Can you feel me? Which is to say, can you see me? This paper mines a decade-long ethnographic study of Black standup comedy for insights into race and authenticity. "Feel me!" comics cried. "See me and consider, if you will, significance of "a real." Their calls smolder in the recesses of my fieldnotes, beckoning a reckoning within and beyond the essentiality trappings of racial authenticity and the analytically redemptive offerings of racial sincerity (Jackson 2005). I plumb literary strategies that have helped me reconcile their calls about 9/11 with jokes that later emerged about Hurricane Katrina. I ask not just how racial authenticity is constructed, but more importantly, why. My goal is not to distract from racial authenticity's implicit presumptions and theoretical limitations, but rather to broaden our understandings of how notions of racial authenticity give shape to peoples' communal longings and affiliations in the new millenium.

Title: Tact and Humor in the Digital Age

Authors: Paul Lewis, Boston College

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Can Jon Stewart, Matt Stone, and Trey Parker be wrong? Does the expanding distribution of satire and ridicule reset the very idea of audience in ways that can render seemingly good-natured humor boorish? Do outrageous threats and acts of violent intimidation (directed at cartoonists and satirists) justify setting aside self-control (as opposed to either internally accepted or externally imposed censorship)? Or does the new global audience require new forms of sensitivity and tact?

Dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at, teasing, and bullying in adolescents and adults
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 527
Chair: René Proyer, University of Zurich

Title: Panel Overview

The symposium addresses two main question with respect to research in gelotophilia (the joy in being laughed at), and katagelasticism (the joy of laughing at others): (1) The expression of the three dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at in children and adolescents; and (2) the relation of the three dispositions with teasing and bullying-type of behavior. Most of the studies on the dispositions so far have been conducted with adults. There are first data from Denmark and Switzerland with children and adolescents—both indicate that these dispositions can be measured reliably in these age groups and that the factor structure of the measures used is similar to the one reported for adults. Results from initial studies with these age groups are encouraging but there is a call for more research with children and adolescents. The data also suggests that gelotophobia is (even in younger age) robustly related to experiences of being a victim of bullying-behavior while katagelasticism relates to admitting being a bully. There is also empirical evidence that higher gelotophobia scores relate to a greater history of being teased about social behavior and academic excellence. Gelotophobes do not necessarily seem to experience a higher frequency of teasing experiences but experience distress out of it. Also, practical consequences of these findings for work-place but also school-settings will be discussed.

Title: Gelotophobia: Is it just social anxiety repackaged?

Authors: Bruce Findlay, Swinburne University of Technology

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This study examined my concern that Gelotophobia may be no more than an extreme version of social anxiety. Participants were an international sample of 153 people (60 men, 90 women, 3 who didn't admit!), mean age 33 years (62% Australian, 18% European, 12% US). They responded to an online battery of tests including the Social Phobia Scale, Fear of Negative Evaluation, Fear of Positive Evaluation, the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale, the Personal Feeling Questionnaire (which measures proneness to shame and guilt), and Rawlings and Rawlings' (2011) brief measure of Gelotophobia. Exploratory factor analyses indicated that although scores on Gelotophobia are very highly correlated with scores on various measures of social anxiety, it is a conceptually distinct construct, and instead appears to more closely resemble a proneness to shame, as Titze (1998) initially proposed. Unsurprisingly, however, people who are socially anxious are very likely to also suffer from Gelotophobia.

Title: Gelotophobia in 11-14 year old Danes

Authors: Martin Führ, University of Aalborg

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Gelotophobia is defined as the fear of being laughed at. This is the first empirical study on gelotophobia among children and adolescents (aged 11-16 years). Data was collected in Denmark (N = 1,322). The Danish version of the GELOPH<15> (Führ, Proyer & Ruch, 2009) was used and yielded good psychometric properties in terms of a high internal consistency of the items and the factorial structure (one-dimensional solution) was highly similar to data for the adult version. As in the adults higher bullying experiences were well predicted by the individual expression of the fear of being laughed at. While the actual number of absent days from school was widely unrelated to gelotophobia, those pupils who frequently think about not attending school but have a low number of actual absent days yielded the highest gelotophobia scores. This study shows that gelotophobia can be reliably measured with the standard form of the GELOPH<15>. The pupils did not report problems with understanding the items (though the eleven year olds needed help by teachers for filling in the items). This study allows planning and conducting follow-up studies (e.g., longitudinal design) with much younger populations as has so far been studied. The knowledge about the fear of being laughed at among children and adolescents is still very limited.

Title: Dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at in children and adolescents: Preliminary data and their relation to bullying and victimization

Authors: Monica Neukom, University of Zurich, René Proyer, University of Zurich & Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich

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The development and psychometric properties of a children's version of the PhoPhiKat-45 (Ruch & Proyer, 2009), that allows the assessment of gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism, will be described. We tested about 400 six to nine year olds in classroom settings and collected data on various school-related topics (e.g., popularity, preferences for specific courses, etc.) but also on bullying-type of behavior from the pupils, their teachers, and their parents. Data suggests that the three dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at can be measured reliably and that the factor structure resembles those of the version for adults. However, a reduction to a 30-item measure is suggested, as the assessment with especially the younger participants was very time consuming (up to 45 minutes). Relations with victim and bully-status were in line with predictions. As in adults gelotophobia was more prevalent among the victims and katagelasticism was associated with bully-status. However, these relations need to be discussed from a time-span overview on current findings and an outlook on future studies will be given.

Title: Fear of Being Laughed at, Social Anxiety, and Memories of Being Teased During Childhood

Authors: Kim R. Edwards, University of Western Ontario, Rod A. Martin, University of Western Ontario, & David J. A. Dozois, University of Western Ontario

The purposes of this study were to investigate (1) the relationships between gelotophobia and memories of being the target of teasing during childhood and adolescence; and (2) associations between gelotophobia and social and specific fears and anxieties, in a sample of 207 undergraduate students. Regression analyses revealed that higher gelotophobia scores were associated with a greater history of being teased about social behavior and academic excellence, but not about family background, appearance, or performance. Overall, gelotophobia was related to distress but not frequency of childhood teasing. Additional regression analyses revealed that gelotophobia was strongly related to three measures of social anxiety, but not to specific fears relating to death/ illness/ injury, animals, or situations. However, significant associations between gelotophobia and a history of being teased remained even after controlling for social anxiety. These results support Titze's (2009) view of gelotophobia as a syndrome that is related to, but distinct from, social phobia, which develops in part from repeated experiences of being the target of teasing and ridicule relating particularly to anxiety-based social skills deficits and interpersonal awkwardness.

Sense of Humor in Autism Spectrum Disorders
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 505
Chair: Sibe Doosje, Utrecht University

Panel Overview

The symposium will be introduced by a brief sketch of theoretical perspectives in this exciting new field and a description of the character of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by Sibe Doosje.

Title: Prosodic Features of Individuals with High-Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome during Humor Production

Authors: Audrey Adams, Texas A&M University-Commerce

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The present paper aims to examine the prosodic features of humor production in individuals with Aspergers syndrome (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA), and how those features compare to the humor production of individuals without a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). While the prosodic features of individuals with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) are often considered atypical, this is an under-researched area with conflicting conclusions and a variety of methodologies. Additionally, studies concerned with humor and ASD are also scarce and predominantly interested in the comprehension and appreciation of humor (see Emerich et al. 2003, Samson and Hegenloh 2010, Wang et al. 2006, Lyons and Fitzgerald 2004) or in the development of humor in children with ASD (see St. James and Tager-Flusberg 1994, Turner 2008). Overall then, little to no research exists on the prosodic features of humor production in individuals with ASD. This paper compares the humor of high-functioning individuals with ASD to that of a normal control group taken from Pickering et al. (2009), a study in which the prosodic features of typically developing participants were measured during the performance of both scripted and spontaneous jokes. The corpus for this pilot study consists of dialogue collected from recordings in clinical settings and a variety of other sources, and each instance of humor production is measured for pitch, volume, speech rate, and pauses. The results of each measurement in the ASD group will then be compared to the benchmarks found in Pickering et al. (2009).

Title: Humorlessness elucidated: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their sense of humor

Authors: Andrea Samson, Stanford University

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Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders were not only described to have difficulties processing humor in various studies, but also the earliest paper on individuals with Asperger's syndrome – which is a form of autism – described them to be humorless (Asperger, 1944). The aim of this talk is to elucidate the factors that contribute to the apparent humorlessness in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Results from an empirical cartoon processing study (Samson & Hegenloh, 2010) and from a self-report questionnaire study (Samson, Huber & Ruch, submitted for publication) will be presented. The various factors that lead to a different sense of humor in Autism Spectrum Disorders, such as mentalizing and social cognition difficulties, a detail oriented processing style (local bias), and high trait seriousness will be discussed.

Title: Humour appreciation and humour comprehension in adolescents with and without Autism Spectrum Disorders

Authors: Sibe Doosje, Utrecht University & I. Frissen, Utrecht University

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The aim of this study was to investigate whether adolescents with and without Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) differed in their appreciation and comprehension of verbal and non-verbal humorous stimuli of varying complexity. 153 Dutch secondary school students (56 ASDs, 97 healthy controls) aged 13.9 years (SD=1.1) completed humor comprehension tests and humor appreciation questionnaires. ASDs did not seem to show lower humor appreciation rates than healthy controls. Humor comprehension was lower in ASDs with considerable language impairments, compared to healthy controls. However, other ASDs did not differ from controls with regard to humor comprehension. The complexity and nature of the humor stimuli did not make any difference. Controlling for gender, education level and verbal intelligence did not change these results, except that higher educational levels increased humor comprehension. Future studies should address humor stimulus properties in the light of Theory of Mind and Weak Central Coherence theories.

Title: Does poor attention-switching explain the negative relationship between sense of humor and the autism spectrum?

Authors: David Rawlings, University of Melbourne

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Several studies by the author and his colleagues have investigated the relationships among measures of creativity, schizotypy, humor appreciation, and the autism spectrum. These studies are briefly described as providing a rationale for the study to be reported. 126 undergraduate students completed a measure of humor appreciation developed by the author, in addition to the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) of Baron-Cohen. The humor measure required participants to read, and then to rate, how funny, and how unpleasant/aversive, they found 48 purportedly humorous stimuli differentiated according to whether they were 'violent' or 'neutral', and whether they comprised jokes, or comprised real-life situations involving the self or other people. The AQ is the sum of the scores obtained on five sub-scales: Social Skill, Attention Switching, Attention-to-Detail, Communication, and high Imagination, with 'autism' associated with ability to attend to detail, but low scores on the other measures. The study found, using correlation, regression, and exploratory factor analysis, that the autism spectrum is particularly connected with an aversive reaction to real-life humorous situations, irrespective of whether these involve others or the self. This connection is most clearly explained by the relative inability of autistic individuals to switch attention.

Subversion & Tricksters
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CGS 511
Chair: Janet Bing, Old Dominion University

Title: Fabulous Mischief: Trickster spirits and comic bodies

Authors: Eric Weitz, Trinity College Dublin

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This paper represents an introductory foray into a study of the trickster spirit as it may be seen to relate to dramatic representation. Although a contested concept in cross-cultural terms, trickster tales do seem to avail of a fantastic metaphysics, which often can be defined by the sponsorship of bodied imagining in a comic vein: They may adopt animal or godlike guises and perform amazing feats. A trickster spirit can sometimes be detected in the humor personality exhibited by plays and films, even if they do not harbor namable trickster characters among their cast lists. In other cases dramatic embodiment commissions virtuosic physical performance, capable of incarnating fantastic (and seemingly impossible) acts or effects.

Title: Failed humor and social norms

Authors: Nancy Bell, Washington State University & Béatrice Priego-Valverde, Université de Provence

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Humor has been recognized as having the capacity for subversion. Humor can sometimes effect at least local change by disrupting the status quo in a socially acceptable manner (Holmes & Marra, 2002). If the success of humor is at least temporarily liberating, then there is a distinct possibility that its failure ensures that prevailing social norms remain in place. Conversely, successful humor, such as teasing, that is designed to regulate social behavior tends to maintain the status quo, whereas its failure can represent a challenge to the teaser, throwing into question this individual's power. Failure may in fact be more powerful in challenging and upholding normativity than success. This presentation, thus, explores the role that failed humor can play in regulating social relationships. Failed humor does not occur with great regularity in everyday conversation, as does successful humor, therefore this research draws from a variety of sources, including examples from published and unpublished research transcripts of conversation, online corpora, and the media. Different types of failures are examined, including where the audience either did not recognize, understand, appreciate, or agree with the message of the joke (cf. Hay, 2001; Bell & Attardo, 2010). In addition, the effects of failure of different types of humor, such as teasing, as mentioned above, are also explored.

Title: Gotcha! Male and Female Pranksters with a Message

Authors: Janet Bing, Old Dominion University & Robin Ormiston, Old Dominion University

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Pranks are mischievous acts often committed by relatively young people; they include practical jokes, crank calls, graffiti, and flash mobs. To qualify as a prank, someone has to do and not just say something. One source of resulting humor, if there is any, is that pranks violate normal expectations for a particular situation. Some pranks are malicious, destructive, dangerous, or illegal and can lead to jail, heart attacks, automobile accidents, and even suicide. "Pranks gone wrong" is a common headline. However, less-destructive pranks can provide social commentary or "joke thoughts" (in the sense of Oring 2003), usually as attempts to subvert the status quo. In this paper we will explore a small set of these subversive pranks, primarily those that have found a relatively wide audience. Pranksters that will be discussed include Ellen DeGeneres, the Yes Men, the Guerrilla Girls, the Sweet Potato Queens, the Raging Grandmas, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes (on Crank Yankers), Alan Sokol, some popular videos on YouTube, as well as the widely reported pranks played on ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Pranks frequently challenge the status quo, but why are some "serious" pranks effective social commentary whereas others are not? Must pranks be funny or receive extensive media coverage to be effective? In order to send a message, pranksters sometimes target situations in which individuals are relatively powerless. The targets of socially motivated male pranksters such as the Yes Men have been powerful corporations, institutions, governments, and the people who work for them. Traditionally, discourse in the public sphere, including the use of humor, has been the domain of males, so it is not surprising that there are relatively few female pranksters. However, the Guerrilla Girls and the Sweet Potato Queens target sexism and social conventions and institutions that exclude and limit females. This study explores the pranks of male and female pranksters, as well as the potential of pranks to raise an awareness of social issues.

Coping and Humor
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 505
Chair: Jon-Fan Hu, National Cheng Kung University

Title: The Relationship between Children's Social Status and the Use of Humor in Coping with Stressful Situations

Authors: Yu-Ting Huang, National Cheng Kung University; Fang-Wei Wu, National Cheng Kung University; Jon-Fan Hu, National Cheng Kung University & Hsueh-Chih Chen, National Taiwan Normal University

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The objective of the study is to investigate whether the social status is an indication of the tendency in using humor to cope with stressful life situations in children. Social status can be classified into five categories (popular, controversial, rejected, neglected and average) according to past socimetric researches (Coie & Dodge, 1988; Coie, Dodge, & Coppotelli, 1982). Humor has long been assumed as a useful tactic in coping with stressful life experiences offering individual a less-threatening point of view to reappraise the stressful situation. Furthermore, previous studies proposed that humor may play a role in the initiation and maintenance of satisfying and enduring social relationships (Shiota, 2004) as well as a desirable trait in the selections of a friend and other social partner. Overall, humor could be beneficial for individuals to obtain a benign social status. It is wondered whether young children with benign social status, who are generally inclined to use humor in interpersonal relationships, may tend to use humor in coping with stress. In the first phase of the present study, for ensuring the funniness, sixty 8-year-old children were asked to rate the cartoon stimuli drew by experimenters portraying an individual reacting to stressful situations in two manners, humorous and neutral, stressful situations which were selected from both Life Stress Scale and Feel Bad Scale (Lewis, Siegel, Lewis, 1984). In the formal experiment, sixty 8-year-old children were asked to imagine themselves facing seven stressful situations. Afterwards they were asked to choose either humorous or neutral response which was rated previously to cope with the stressful situation. Tu's Teacher Social Test (Tu, 2009) was administered to evaluate individual's interpersonal social status. The results show that popular and controversial children, compared to rejected and neglected children, are more inclined to choose humorous response to cope with stressful situations. The study reveals that benign social status may indicate a tendency in using humor as a coping strategy to stress in children.

Title: Humor Styles, Dispositional Optimism and Mental Health: A study of 493 University students in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau

Authors: Xiao Dong, City University of Hong Kong

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This study examines the relationship between mental health, humor styles, and dispositional optimism among 493 college students in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou. The Humor Styles Questionnaire, the Revised Life Orientation Tests, Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale were used. 202 Hong Kong undergraduates, 204 Macau undergraduates and 87 Guangzhou undergraduates participated in the study. Use of humor styles is almost the same for in students in Hong Kong and Macau but students in Guangzhou used significantly more self-enhancing humor. Students with high optimism used significantly more affiliative humor and self-enhancing humor than students with low optimism. Optimism is positively correlated with affiliative humor and self-enhancing humor significantly. Affiliative and Self-enhancing humor styles and optimism are negatively correlated with all the subscales of DASS significantly. Use of aggressive and self-defeating humor is positively correlated with all subscales of DASS significantly. Participants with low level of distress used significantly more affiliative humor and self-enhancing humor and less aggressive humor and self-defeating humor.

Title: Does Coping Humor Predict Depression? Using HLM To Model Change Over Time

Authors: Gillian P. Freeman, University of Massachusetts Amherst, W. Larry Ventis, College of William & Mary, Dorly J. H. Deeg, Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam & Aartjan T. F. Beekman, VU University Amsterdam

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Two-level hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used to examine coping humor as a predictor of depression in a longitudinal design. Cross-sectional research has found high coping humor scores to be related to better emotional well-being (Freeman & Ventis, 2010) and lower depression scores (Marziali, McDonald, & Donahue, 2008; Nezlek & Derks, 2001). However, it remains to be seen if this relationship can be replicated in a repeated measures design. The data were derived from the first five waves of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). LASA is a prospective study examining the health, well-being, and functioning of older people living in the Netherlands. Analyses were run on 1945 (male = 982) community-dwelling older adults (ages 55-85 years). Wave 1 data were collected between 1992 and 1993. Wave 2 occurred from 1995-1996; Wave 3 from 1998-1999; Wave 4 from 2001-2002; and Wave 5 from 2005-2006. Depression was measured at all five waves with the CESD (Radloff, 1977). Coping humor was collected at Wave 1 using items from the Coping Humor Scale (CHS: Martin & Lefcourt, 1983). Two-level HLM is an optimal method to analyze linear or polynomial change over time. At the inter-individual level, we wanted to determine whether coping humor scores predict lower depression scores at Wave 1 and six years later at Wave3. We hypothesized that that higher coping humor scores would relate to lower depression scores initially and over time. A cubic curve represented the best fit in both models. In the first model, Wave 1 humor and gender were entered as predictors of Wave 1 depression, while controlling for age. Humor predicted differences in the average log depression at Wave 1 [t(1934) = -4.209, p < 0.001]. The estimated coefficient (ϒ0) for coping humor was negative, indicating that higher coping humor scores are related to lower depression scores at Wave 1. In the second model, Wave 1 humor and gender were entered as predictors of Wave 3 depression, while controlling for age. Humor predicted differences in the average log depression at Wave 3 [t(1887) = -2.972, p = 0.003] such that high coping humor scores predicted lower depression scores at Wave 3.

Dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at from a cross-cultural perspective
Friday 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM CGS 527
Chair: Tracey Platt, University of Zurich

Title: Psychometric Validation of an Arabic Translation of the GELOPH<15> scale in Lebanon

Authors: Shahe Kazarian, American University of Beirut, René Proyer, University of Zurich & Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich

GELOPH<15> is a 15-item new trait measure of gelotophobia or the fear of being laughed at and ridiculed. In the present presentation, we discuss two studies that describe Arabic translation of the English version of GELOPH<15> using back-translation methodology and its validation in the form of factor structure, reliability and correlation with other measures in Lebanon. In the first study, the Arabic GELOPH<15> was administered to a group of Lebanese university students (n=198) to assess its factor structure and internal consistency. In the second study, the Arabic GELOPH<15>, the Arabic Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ), the Arabic Center of Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale, the Arabic Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL) were administered in a counterbalanced order to 60 university students to assess the relationship of gelotophobia to humor styles, depression and subjective well-being. Factor analysis results showed a one-factor solution, a finding consistent with previous findings and suggestive of the universality of the factor structure of the GELOPH<15>. The internal consistency of the scale was high in both samples (α = .85 and α = .82, respectively). Finally, Arabic GELOPH<15> sores were correlated with depression scores but neither with humor styles scores nor life satisfaction scores. Overall, the findings support the universality of the factor structure of the GELOPH<15> and the cultural relevance of the measure in the Lebanese context.

Title: Development of Japanese version of PhoPhiKat-45 and the examination of its concurrent validity

Authors: Toshihiko Amemiya, Kansai University

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PhoPhiKat-45 consists of three subscales: gelotophobia, gelotophilia and katagelasticism. Items of gelotophilia and katagelasticism were newly translated from the English version and the back translation was checked by the author of the original scale (Ruch & Proyer 2009). Participants were 208 undergraduate students (63 men, 144 women, 1missing). Average age was 19.1 (SD=0.9). In addition to J- PhoPhiKat-45 the Japanese version of Big Five, Rosenberg self esteem scale, STAXI (trait anger), STAI (trait fear), Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, Humor Styles Questionnaire and retrospective bullying experience inquiry were also applied. The result of exploratory factor analysis showed almost the same factor structure to the original scale. Except for three items, item-subscale correlations were higher than 0.4. α coefficients were high enough: gelotophobia 0.81, gelotophilia 0.88, katagelasticism 0.79. So we adopted the same 15 items of the original scale for each three subscale. Correlations between subscales were as follows: gelotophobiagelotophilia -0.22(p < 0.01), gelotophilia-katagelasticism 0.31(p<0.01), gelotophobiakatagelasticism 0.14 (p<0.05). The correlation between gelotophobia and katagelasticism became non-significant, when latent variables of the subscales were calculated by SEM. The average scores were as follows: gelotophobia 2.34(SD=0.45), gelotophilia 2.35(SD=0.50), katagelasticism 1.93(SD=0.40). There were no sex differences in the average scores of gelotophilia and katagelasticism. In gelotophobia men showed 0.17 higher average than women (p<0.05. In the previous two samples of our data, there were no sex differences). The correlations of gelotophobia with other scales were as follows: trait anxiety 0.49, self esteem - 0.36, extraversion -0.34, subjective happiness -0.33, neuroticism 0.32, trait anger 0.24, suppression 0.21. Gelotophilia showed following correlations: extraversion 0.33, agreeableness 0.22, subjective happiness 0.20. Katagelasticism showed moderate correlation with trait anger (0.35). In relation to well-being, gelotophobia was very negative, gelotophilia was largely positive and katagelasticism seemed neutral. Katagelasticism and gelotophilia showed high correlations with the subscales of Humor Styles Questionnaire: katagelasticismaggressive humor 0.63, gelotophilia-self defeating humor 0.67, gelotophilia-affiliative humor 0.55. Gelotophilia seems to relate to a playful attitude to self and others. Finally, the overall recalled frequency of being the target of bullying correlate with gelotophobia (0.36, p<0.01), gelotophilia (-0.22, p<0.01) and katagelasticism (0.14, p<0.05). Katagelasticism also correlate with the overall recalled frequency of bullying others (0.38, p<0.01).

Title: Dispositions towards laughter from a cultural context: Emotional responses to teasing and ridicule scenarios

Authors: Tracey Platt, University of Zurich, René Proyer, University of Zurich & Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich

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Scenarios prototypical of friendly, playful teasing and mean spirited ridicule have been shown to evoke different emotional response patterns in those fearing laughter. Although laughter is universal, when and where laughter is deemed appropriate has cultural differences (Buckley, 2003). As shame and shame anxiety are known factors in gelotophobia the aim of this study is to investigate the emotional responses in countries identified as being 'shame cultures'. Two principles of shame cultures, namely 'honour' and 'face' were used to further differentiate the cultural differences. The United Arab Emirates was used to provide participants in the honour culture and Taiwan provided the face culture participants. Emirati (N = 230), British (N = 102), Swiss/German (N = 232) and Taiwanese (N = 234) completed the Ridicule Teasing Scenario questionnaire (RTSq; Platt, 2008), an instrument assessing the emotional responses to ridicule and teasing. Furthermore, the PhoPhiKat-45 (Ruch & Proyer, 2009) was used to investigate the level of gelotophobia (i.e., the fear of being laughed at), gelotophilia (i.e., the joy of being laughed at) and katagelasticism (i.e., the joy of laughing at others). Irrespective of the country, the higher the gelotophobia, the less discrimination between playful teasing and mean spirited ridicule occurred. However, the shame cultures elicited more people exceeding the cut of value for gelotophobes compared to the British and German samples. Gelotophiles had joyful reactions to both teasing and ridicule in both shame cultures. For the Taiwanese, not only did the gelotophobes fear teasing but surprisingly, so did the katagelasticists, who also experienced shame in both ridicule and teasing. The Emirati katagelasticists felt fear and shame in ridicule situations. How people respond to laughter seems to be connected to the emotions elicited, when a combination of shame and fear are involved either a fearful or laughing at first reaction can emerge, irrespective of the cultural context.

Humor Creation and Teaching
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 505
Chair: Peter Desberg, California State University Dominguez Hills

Title: The Effects of Modeling on Learning Comedy Writing: Can You Teach People to Write Funny?

Authors: Jeffrey Davis, Loyola Marymount University & Peter Desberg, California State University Dominguez Hills

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This presentation examines how modeling the processes of seasoned comedy writers affect the behavior of students in a screenwriting class. Elementary and intermediate undergraduates working in pairs were asked to read several interviews taken from Show Me The Funny! At The Writers' Table With Hollywood's Top Comedy Writers. In Show Me The Funny! 25 Hollywood comedy writers were given a premise and asked to develop it on-the-spot, in real time. Some worked in teams, some individually. Some developed it as a movie, some as episodic TV. One of the main points in the book was that there was no one way to develop comedy. Each writer had his or her own writing process exposing students to many ways to face an empty page. The reader gets to see these accomplished writers such as Sherwood Schwartz (creator of Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch), Phil Rosenthal (co-creator of Everybody Loves Raymond) and Ed Dector (There's Something About Mary) all begin with the same premise and go their own way with it. Twelve screenwriting students in two classes were randomly paired and given two interviews to read together and discuss in class. A total of twelve interviews were discussed. Most students reported that they read additional interviews. The students were given 10 questions to help structure the discussion. Before the discussion, the faculty members presented a lecture focusing on the methodology of noted UCLA Screenwriting Professor Lew Hunter. They used his "Two Minute Movie" exercise in which the writer moves from a simple premise to laying out a story in two pages complete with opening image, first turning point, first act break, etc. After this exercise, students were asked to write a paragraph to assess the utility of using process-based interviews as models for their own writing. Several of the questions they were asked to discuss were: What devices could they identify that they used from the book. How did they modify them? The self-report evaluations were very positive about the use of this method of comedy writing instruction.

Title: Humor Creation in Teaching – Re-evaluation of the Multidimensional Theory for Humor Creation

Authors: Varda Inglis, Academic College in Wingate, Shlomo Kaniel, Academic College in Wingate & Dr. Sima Zach, Wingate Institute

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The purpose of this study was to re-evaluate the multi-dimensional model of wittiness according to which three dimensions comprise humor creation: motivation, cognition, and communication. Two methodologies, laboratory study (in vitro) and natural setting study (in vivo), were employed to analyze humor creation. Participants, 34 lecturers from colleges and universities who were identified by their students as having (28) or not having (6) a sense of humor, completed the questionnaires. Additionally, 1530 students observed these lecturers and evaluated their sense of humor according to motivation, cognition, and communication. Judges also evaluated degree of humor in 735 video clips excerpted from 91 filmed lessons taught by the lecturers. The video clips were also analyzed to see the communication and cognition components. Three path–analysis models, one in-vitro and two in-vivo, reinforced the multidimensional model. The first accounted for 32% of humor creation. The other two, the 'students' and 'judges' models, explained 78% and 34% of humor creation variance, respectively. High correlations were found between the students' model and the judges' model. Regression analyses revealed that a person's role – humor creator or humor receiver – was the strongest variable contributing to variance in humor creation. This study reinforced the multi-dimensional model of humor creation. Its innovation is in the suggestion that the humor receiver and not only the humor creator contributes to variance in humor creation. In addition, this study expanded the tool-box of humor measurement for in-vitro methodology and created new tools that demonstrate their use in measuring humor in in-vivo methodology.

Title: Interactive Joke Writing…from Theory to Practice: Software that Teaches Joke Creation

Authors: Peter Desberg, California State University Dominguez Hills & Greg Dean, Stand-Up Comedy Workshop

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This paper demonstrates an interactive software tutorial based on Comedy Coach Greg Dean's Bi-Perspective Joke Theory. The software program Interactive Joke Writing (IJW) presents Dean's joke writing system in a step-by-step tutorial format with exercises and feedback for each point. Hopefully, the presentation of this interactive in a way more entertaining fashion than this abstract does. This presentation will explain the Bi-Perspective Joke Theory and demonstrate the interface showing how the theory is applied. Along the way, the audience will be asked to participate in some of the interactive exercises. We will demonstrate how topics are used to create setups where users identify a topic, narrow an idea down to a premise and write a series of setups. The audience will then have the opportunity to create a series of setups during the presentation. A discussion of this process will follow. The final section of the presentation presents an application of the Bi-Perspective Joke Theory mechanisms of Target Assumption, Connector and Reinterpretation where users learn to write punches for their setups. The last step of the presentation will have the audience select a setup and create a punch in real time.

The Length of Jokes
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 527
Chair: Victor Raskin, Purdue University

Panel Overview

The Symposium emerged from an instantaneous exchange at a small humor research conference between Attardo and Taylor about the latter's recent discovery (see her abstract). They then pulled the other two participants in. We all come from the same theoretical background, being committed to the rigorously defined and computable semantic theory of verbal humor: Raskin proposed the early version of it (SSTH: Raskin 1985), Attardo initiated an improved version (GTVH: Attardo and Raskin 1991; Attardo 1994), Raskin, Hempelmann, and Taylor are developing the most recent version (OSTH: Raskin et al. 2009). Within this common theoretical background, we are all pursuing different goals, often disagreeing with each other. The result of that healthy environment is that we are mounting the most contenful and serious criticism of the theory we all share. This criticism compares very favorably with the outside attacks on the theory, coming mostly from Europe and originating in mis- and non-understanding of the theory. The mildest and most respectful excuse for this is the (often unconscious) phenomenological orientation of the critics as opposed to our decisive analyticity, and the real reason for this is [87 strong and 2 unknown words excised here]. One recurring reason for our vigorous and informed self-criticism is when one of us discovers that we do not have a position on a seemingly important aspect of humor. The length of a joke is such an aspect, so the symposium is a move towards filling the gap. It does not matter to us that no theory has addressed length either—we must understand it. The real trigger, however, is that Taylor has discovered a seemingly strong counterexample to script overlap and opposition being the necessary and—much more importantly—sufficient set of conditions for a verbal joke. It is, however, premature for the theory's adherents to panic and for the EU population to celebrate: the theory is simply recalibrated and energes better and stonger!

Title: On the Length of Jokes

Authors: Salvatore Attardo, Texas A&M University-Commerce

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The very definition of the text-type "joke" (or the literary genre "joke") includes the shortness of the text (e.g., Attardo and Chabanne 1992). Historically, even though some periods seem to prefer more elaborate narratives, we see a fairly constant preference for short texts, starting from the Philoghelos (4th century AD), through the medieval exampla, the Renaissance facetiae, and through the 17-18th century jest books, directly reflected in modern and contemporary joke collections. This preference can be accounted for by pragmatic explanations, such as the oral presentation, with its attendant limits, the conversational setting of the oral joke performance, which limits the monopolization of the floor, and of course genre expectations set by the historical record above. Humor theories have generally ignored the length of jokes because jokes were selected as the topic of analysis not because of an interest in the specific text-type or literary genre, but rather because jokes are simple and in the best case (best from the point of view of the analysis, needless to say) reduce to one and only one script opposition cum logical mechanism. The GTVH introduced the "Language" knowledge resource, which in principle would be concerned with issue of length. However, to the best of my knowledge, no study has addressed this issue. Structurally, Tsakona (2003) showed that jab lines occur in the setup of jokes, thus blurring the distinction between jokes and "longer humorous texts" which Attardo (2001) characterized as having more than one punch line (and obviously much more than that!). Thus in conclusion, I argue that the length of jokes is relevant only insofar as it defines a literary genre or a text-type, but that beyond that there is essentially free variation (with upper and lower boundaries, to be sure).

Title: Explicitness is Proverbially and at This Point in This Title Also Obviously the Death of Wit, or is It?

Authors: Christian Hempelmann, RiverGlass Inc. & Purdue University

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This presentation will trace the relation between joke length (not as the neutral measure, but as one extreme in the dimension that it measures, the opposite of brevity) and logical mechanisms (LMs; Attardo and Raskin 1991). The main hypothesis will play on Polonius's oft-quoted "brevity is the soul of wit" (taking liberty in conflating the meanings of "wit"). This dangerous main hypothesis generates several research issues, including obvious ones, like how seemingly extraneous textual material can be tolerated in neatly crafted jokes, likely as required in backgrounded incongruities (Hempelmann and Attardo 2011), and how length itself can be an meta-LM. But more intricate issues also arise, like how joke length interacts with the essential inexplicitness of the LMs, which as fully explicit would have to expose their illogical nature, that is, as non-textual information of the text which is merely triggered by it.

Title: Length and Girth Saliency in Jokes

Authors: Victor Raskin, Purdue University

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Jokes vary significantly in length, from literally one-liners to tall tales, and so do the national and individual preferences for the joke length (JL). Humor theories, on the other hand, do not venture into exploring this feature, apparently on the assumption that there may be very funny jokes at the opposite poles of the JL scale, and the theories are, after all—or at least should be—interested in understanding what is funny and how it differs from what is not. The dominant linguistic theory of humor, the not yet quite EU-banned script-based semantic theory superseded by the General Theory of Verbal Humor and now upgraded into the Ontological Semantic Theory of Humor (SSTH: Raskin 1985; GTVH: Attardo and Raskin 1991; OSTH: Raskin et al. 2009) has had very little to say on the length of the joke either. As long as the script overlap and punch line are in place, formally and machine-tractably defined, the rest does not count—or does it? The paper starts from the European preference: the shorter the joke the more efficient (see, however, Taylor 2011) and then proceeds to the apparent counterexamples where the length does count positively—the shaggy dog stories, Ronnie Corbett's centerpiece joke-botching routine in "The Two Ronnies," and the like. The paper focuses then on the apparent distinction between the good length that pleases and the bad length that hurts. The very valuable but still somewhat mysterious property of saliency enters the picture at this point. The good length must be salient; the bad length just verbosity. So when is the length salient? What is salient in a joke? How is saliency related to the amount of information in a joke? How to measure the amount of information in a joke? Hey, who cares about jokes—would a serious scholar ever study those?!—how to measure the amount of information in text? This is a Holy Grail that linguistics shares with mathematics/information theory, and it is quite possible, again and again, that humor research may plug in that hole and make the Grail whole.

Title: Does SO2 always result in a joke: How long is long enough?

Authors: Julia Taylor, RiverGlass Inc. & Purdue University

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Two leading linguistic theories of humor, SSTH (Raskin 1985) and GTVH (Attardo & Raskin 1991), claim that a joke carrying text must contain two scripts, and these scripts must overlap, fully or in part, and oppose. Moreover, this Script Overlap and Oppositeness (SO2) presence is the necessary and sufficient condition for a joke. Using logical reasoning, when a text is compatible with two scripts, its SO2 is there, but it doesn't "feel" like it is a joke, then the theory no longer holds. In other words, what SSTH claimed and GTVH agreed with, if something is a joke then SO2 must be found. If SO2 is found then something is a joke. The existence of a non-joke (or at best a very weak joke) that contains SO2 poses an interesting question: what other component is missing for a logical "if and only if" definition of verbal humor. In other words, what component must be added to claim: "if Xs hold, then it is a joke" in addition to "if a joke, then Xs hold" which currently seems to be the case. The talk will give an overview of situations and show examples where the presence of SO2 does not result in a joke for a short text, but does result in one with a text that is just a few words longer and suggest possible explanations and additions to the currently accepted necessary and sufficient conditions of a joke to make it work. The latter case is a helpful extension for the OSTH theory (Raskin et al. 2009) which relies on comprehensive understanding of text of a potential joke, but provides reasoning capability to conclude whether it is a joke. The discovered theory spoiler is what seems to amount to the notion of 'useful ballast,' an apparent oxymoron. Positioned before the punchline, it appears to provide a respite to the hearer before the punchline actually delivers the punch. The talk proposes an explanation of why the theory didn't account for it, especially since the spoiler comes from the point of view of the hearer, which neither theory ever accounted for.

Politics and Humor
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM CGS 511
Chair: Diana Popa, Dunarea de Jos University of Galati

Title: Multimodal metaphors in entertaining politics

Authors: Diana Popa, Dunarea de Jos University of Galati

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The media is currently the most significant channel for message transmission, it constitutes the sites where politics and public life are played out, the sites where the meanings of public life are generated and evaluated (Craig 2004). Consequently, media are our primary points of access to politics for today daily citizen engagement with politics is rather textual than organizational or participatory in its traditional sense. The very media-politics landscape is continuously developing and television, in particular, has adopted new formats to adjust to the ever challenging changes in political culture. Entertaining politics is a rather new political programming that belongs to what Jones (2010) calls new political television, which invites audiences to scrutinize in fresh and enjoyable ways political truth and reality in a nation's public life. The present study will illustrate the way entertaining politics relies on multimodal metaphors, in their extended understanding of term (El Refaie 2009) to: a. explain the significance of real life events and characters through the means of imaginary scenarios; b. persuade people; c. propagate a critical stance towards somebody or something; d. last but not least, to provide information about political issues, events and players that no other medium could openly transmit. The data under analysis is extracted from an original Romanian satirical animated cartoon sitcom, the Animated Planet Show. The approach taken will be both cognitive and pragmatic, i.e. we intend to account for the multimodal metaphoric concept and critical stance in terms of what is actually shown in the animated cartoon show, as well as in terms of the cultural and general discourse context.

Title: The power of Heiterkeit (Hilarity)

Authors: Ralph Mueller, University of Fribourg

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The German word "Heiterkeit" ('hilarity') is frequently overlooked in typologies of humorous words; however, it has a long tradition of use in the context of humour and power (cf. Kiedaisch & Baer). Even today, the parliamentary proceedings of the German Bundestag (German House of Representatives) differentiate between scornful 'laughing at'/"Lachen" and more benign 'laughing with'/"Heiterkeit" (cf. Mueller). This presentation will look at the history of the use of "Heiterkeit" in the proceedings of the German parliaments since the end of the 19th century. A further historical analysis of German parliamentary proceedings shows that "Heiterkeit" is the older category under which all reactions of humour used to be recorded. Nevertheless, the differentiation of scornful 'laughing at'/"Lachen" and more benign 'laughing with'/"Heiterkeit" has already been developed by 1918. Since an earlier corpus-based study provided a general typology of situations in which stenographers perceived 'laughing at'/"Lachen" or 'laughing with'/"Heiterkeit" (cf. Mueller), this study will examine whether this typology is applicable to earlier examples of parliamentary discourse.

Title: Satire online: A cross-cultural study of political humour on internet blogs

Authors: Clare Watters, University of Birmingham & Diana E. Popa, Dunarea de Jos University of Galati

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The internet has dramatically increased the speed at which news spreads and its international dissemination, with important stories reaching all major news sites within minutes and readers receiving constant updates. Satirical sites like The Onion and the Huffington Post have been instrumental in transmitting and commenting on this ever increasing news content, but even more personal and socially-based satire blogs have also sprung up around the worResearchers in the field have often identified blogging as alternative citizen journalism, considering it a kind of participatory media that enables citizens and activists to produce their own, often critical, content. Satire blogs can therefore be considered direct participation in political discussion on the part of the blogger and their readers, who share in or comment on the blogger's humorous take on current affairs. This paper will analyse the use of humour in satirical blogs of four countries: the U.S., the UK, Romania and Italy, in their discussion of an international news story, the protests and subsequent revolution in Egypt, and a national event in each country to explore satirical blogging as both a national and transnational phenomenon. Are similar jokes made in all the countries or are there national differences in how politicians and political material is discussed? What are the predominant humorous techniques used by satirical bloggers? As a "conversational mode of journalism" (Gilmore, 2006) does satirical blogging have a more conversational use of humour to the satirical press?

Special Events

Tuesday Night

Opening Reception will include appetizers and alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Free with registration.

Wednesday Night

There is no scheduled event for Wednesday evening. We will be offering a student accompanied trip to the Historic North End (Italian section of Boston) and Faneuil Hall area via the T. There are dozens of excellent restaurants in the area from which to choose. It is a very easy train trip with no transfers required. Dinner is not included in the registration fee.

Thursday Night

Thursday's Comedy Night will be held in the student union. Some light snacks and a cash bar will be available at the event. There will be a list of restaurants on/near campus for dinner before the event. The comedy show is included in the registration fee, dinner is not.

Friday Night

Friday Night Banquet will be a buffet. Wine will be served with dinner. The price of the banquet is included in the registration fee.


Saturday Excursions TBA. Price is not included in registration.