Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 357–363

Humor as a negatively accelerated function of the degree of incongruity

  • Lambert Deckers
  • Debra Salais

DOI: 10.1007/BF00991645

Cite this article as:
Deckers, L. & Salais, D. Motiv Emot (1983) 7: 357. doi:10.1007/BF00991645


The method of limits with weights was employed to determine whether a positive or inverted-U relation described the function between the degree of incongruity and indicators of humor. The degree of incongruity was defined as the difference between the mean of six previous Comparisons and a seventh heavier Comparison ranging from 250 to 7040 grams. Facial expressions and humor and surprise ratings to the seventh Comparison increased in a negatively accelerated fashion with the degree of incongruity. Downward trends in humor indicators with increased incongruity did not occur, and thus the inverted-U relation was not supported. Studies finding an inverted-U relation were interpreted as being the result of the incongruous stimulus coming from another dimension rather than from within the same dimension as the internal standard.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lambert Deckers
    • 1
  • Debra Salais
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceBall State UniversityMuncie

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