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Studies of mood and humor appreciation

Abstract

A total of 189 students in two studies rated jokes on funniness and several other scales after rating their own mood on the Nowlis-Green Mood Adjective Check List. Subjects in Experiment 1 gave a second and third set of mood ratings after their joke-funniness ratings. Three mood factors—surgency, elation, and vigor—reliably predicted joke appreciation in both studies. More tentative evidence linked humor appreciation to concentration, social affection, excitement, freedom, and (lack of) fatigue, but humor appeared independent of aggression, anxiety, tension, and inhibition. Relationships among joke-scale ratings were highly similar for subjects reporting relatively positive moods and those reporting more negative moods. Results were discussed with reference to several humor theories.

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The authors would like to thank Carol Pierce, Marguerite Ponder, and Ron Fox for their help with this research.

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Wicker, F.W., Thorelli, I.M., Barron, W.L. et al. Studies of mood and humor appreciation. Motiv Emot 5, 47–59 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00993661

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00993661

Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Negative Mood
  • Positive Mood
  • Mood Rating
  • Tentative Evidence