Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 163–180

Comprehension of humor in children with nonverbal learning disabilities, reading disabilities, and without learning disabilities


DOI: 10.1007/s11881-008-0016-3

Cite this article as:
Semrud-Clikeman, M. & Glass, K. Ann. of Dyslexia (2008) 58: 163. doi:10.1007/s11881-008-0016-3


The normal development of humor in children has been well documented with a predictable course that is tied to social, cognitive, and linguistic development in children. This study explored humor comprehension in children with nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD). Children with NVLD were compared with children with reading disabilities and a comparison group of children with no learning disabilities to assess their comprehension of humor. The humor test was composed of a joke and cartoon section. No group differences in humor comprehension were found when the NVLD group was defined as having visual–spatial and visual reasoning deficits. However, when the NVLD group was divided into children with and without social perceptual difficulties as defined by a direct measure of social comprehension, significant group differences were found in the levels of humor comprehension. These results support the association of humor comprehension with social perception and lend tentative support to the hypothesis that children with NVLD may not be a homogenous group. Future study directions include further exploration into the nature of the association between humor comprehension and social perception as well as closer examination of the heterogeneity of NVLD.


HumorNonverbal learning disabilityReading disabilityVisual–spatial

Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA