The relative importance of joke and audience characteristics in eliciting amusement

Hannes Rosenbusch*, Anthony M. Evans, Marcel Zeelenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The current work estimated the relative importance of joke and audience characteristics for the occurrence of amusement. Much psychological research has focused on stimulus characteristics when searching for sources of funniness. Some researchers have instead highlighted the importance of perceiver characteristics, such as dispositional cheerfulness. Across five preregistered studies (Ns = 118–54,905) with varied stimuli and perceiver samples (website visitors, students, Mechanical Turk and Prolific users), variance-decomposition analyses found that perceiver characteristics account for more variance in funniness ratings than stimulus characteristics. Thus, psychological theories focusing on between-persons differences have a relatively high potential for explaining and predicting humor appreciation (here, funniness ratings). Crucially, perceiver-by-stimulus interactions explained the largest amount of variance, highlighting the importance of fit between joke and audience characteristics when predicting amusement. Implications for humor-appreciation theories and applications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1394
JournalPsychological Science
Volume33
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • APPRECIATION
  • BEHAVIOR
  • HUMOR STYLES
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • LAUGHTER
  • PERSONALITY
  • SENSE
  • SEX
  • amusement
  • audience characteristics
  • funniness
  • humor
  • open data
  • open materials
  • preregistered
  • variance decomposition

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