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[[File:Eduard von Grützner Falstaff.jpg|thumb|280px|[[Smile|Smiling]] can imply a sense of humour and a state of amusement, as in this painting of [[Falstaff]] by [[Eduard von Grützner]].]]

{{Use British English|date=November 2010}}

'''Humour''' (in [[English in the Commonwealth of Nations|Commonwealth English]]), or '''humor''' (in [[American English]]) is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke [[laughter]] and provide [[amusement]]. The term derives from the [[humorism|humoral medicine]] of the [[ancient Greeks]], which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours ([[Latin]]: ''humor'', "body fluid"), controlled human health and emotion.

People of all ages and cultures respond to humour. Most people are able to experience humour—be amused, smile or laugh at something funny—and thus are considered to have a ''sense of humour''. The hypothetical person lacking a sense of humour would likely find the behaviour induced by humour to be inexplicable, strange, or even irrational. Though ultimately decided by personal [[taste (aesthetics)|taste]], the extent to which a person finds something humorous depends on a host of variables, including [[geographical location]], [[culture]], [[Maturity (psychological)|maturity]], level of [[education]], [[intelligence]] and [[wiktionary:context|context]]. For example, young children may favour [[slapstick]] such as [[Punch and Judy]] puppet shows or cartoons such as ''[[Tom and Jerry]]'', whose physical nature makes it accessible to them. By contrast, sophisticated forms of humour such as [[satire]] require an understanding of its social meaning and context, and thus tend to appeal to the mature audience.


[[File:Aprilsnar 2001.png|thumb|An [[April fool]] in Denmark, regarding Copenhagen's new subway.]]

[[File:Cyklisci dk ubt.JPG|thumb|Some claim that humour cannot or should not be explained.]]

[[File:Ricqles Civilite Puerile Moustache.jpg|thumb|Postcard from France, early 20th century. Illustration by [[Henry Gerbault]].]]

[[File:Van-Kessel-Festons-masques-Fondation-Custodia.jpg|thumb|Funny faces made with shells, painting made by Jan van Kessel the Elder (1626–1679)]]

[[File:Week z00.jpg|thumbnail|Unintentional humor]]

{{main|Theories of humour}}

Many theories exist about what humour is and what social function it serves. The prevailing types of theories attempting to account for the existence of humour include [[psychology|psychological]] theories, the vast majority of which consider humour-induced behaviour to be very healthy; spiritual theories, which may, for instance, consider humour to be a "gift from God"; and theories which consider humour to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a [[mysticism|mystical experience]].<ref>[[Raymond Smullyan]], "The Planet Without Laughter", ''This Book Needs No Title''</ref>

The benign-violation theory, endorsed by [[Peter McGraw]], attempts to explain humour's existence. The theory says 'humour only occurs when something seems wrong, unsettling, or threatening, but simultaneously seems okay, acceptable or safe’<ref>[[Peter McGraw]], "Too close for Comfort, or Too Far to care? Finding Humor in Distant Tragedies and Close Mishaps"</ref>   Humor can be used as a method to easily engage in social interaction by taking away that awkward, uncomfortable, or uneasy feeling of social interactions.

Others believe that 'the appropriate use of humor can facilitate social interactions'.<ref>[[Nicholas Kuiper]], "Prudence and Racial Humor: Troubling Epithets"</ref>


Some claim that humour cannot or should not be explained. Author [[E.B. White]] once said, "Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind."<ref>[]</ref> Counter to this argument, protests against "offensive" cartoons invite the dissection of humor or its lack by aggrieved individuals and communities. This process of dissecting humor does not necessarily banish a sense of humor but begs attention toward its politics and assumed universality (Khanduri 2014).<ref>Ritu Gairola Khanduri. 2014. [ Caricaturing Culture in India: Cartoons and History of the Modern World]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.</ref>

[[Arthur Schopenhauer]] lamented the misuse of ''humour'' (a [[German language|German]] [[loanword]] from [[English language|English]]) to mean any type of [[comedy]]. However, both ''humour'' and ''comic'' are often used when theorising about the subject. The connotations of ''humour'' as opposed to ''comic'' are said to be that of response versus stimulus. Additionally, ''humour'' was thought to include a combination of ridiculousness and wit in an individual; the paradigmatic case being Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff. The French were slow to adopt the term ''humour''; in French, ''humeur'' and ''humour'' are still two different words, the former referring to a person's [[Mood (psychology)|mood]] or to the archaic concept of the four [[Four Temperaments|humours]].{{Citation needed|date=March 2012}}

Non-satirical humour can be specifically termed ''droll humor'' or ''recreational drollery''.<ref>Seth Benedict Graham ''[ A cultural analysis of the Russo-Soviet Anekdot]'' 2003 p.13</ref><ref>Bakhtin, Mikhail. ''Rabelais and His World'' [1941, 1965]. Trans. Hélène Iswolsky. Bloomington: Indiana University Press p.12</ref>

== In the workplace ==

Humour is a ubiquitous, highly ingrained, and largely [[meaningful]] aspect of human experience and is therefore decidedly relevant in organizational contexts, such as the workplace.<ref name=":03">{{Cite journal|title = Healthy humour: Using humour to cope at work|url =|journal = Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online|date = 2009-01-01|issn = |pages = 89–102|volume = 4|issue = 1|doi = 10.1080/1177083X.2009.9522446|first = Barbara|last = Plester}}</ref>

The significant role that [[laughter]] and [[fun]] play in organizational life has been seen as a [[sociological]] phenomenon and has increasingly been recognized as also creating a sense of involvement among workers.<ref name=":13">{{Cite journal|title = Are we having fun yet? A consideration of workplace fun and engagement|url =|journal = Employee Relations|date = 2009-10-02|issn = 0142-5455|pages = 556–568|volume = 31|issue = 6|doi = 10.1108/01425450910991721}}</ref>

Sharing humour at work not only offers a relief from boredom, but can 

also build relationships, improve camaraderie between colleagues and 

create positive [[affect (psychology)|affect]].<ref name=":03" /> Humour in the workplace may also relieve tension and can be used as a [[Coping (psychology)|coping strategy]].<ref name=":03" />

In fact, one of the most agreed upon key impacts that workplace humour 

has on people’s well being, is the use of humour as a coping strategy to

aid in dealing with daily stresses, adversity or other difficult 

situations.<ref name=":03" />

Sharing a laugh with a few colleagues may improve moods, which is 

pleasurable, and people perceive this as positively affecting their 

ability to cope.<ref name=":03" />

Fun and enjoyment are critical in people's lives and the ability for 

colleagues to be able to laugh during work, through banter or other, 

promotes  harmony and a sense of cohesiveness.<ref name=":03" />

Humour may also be used to offset negative feelings about a

workplace task or to mitigate the use of profanity, or other coping 

strategies, that may not be otherwise tolerated.<ref name=":03" />

Not only can humour in the workplace assist with defusing negative 

emotions, but it may also be used as an outlet to discuss personal 

painful events, in a lighter context, thus ultimately reducing [[anxiety]] and allowing more [[happy]], positive [[emotions]]  to surface.<ref name=":03" />

Additionally, humour may be used as a tool to mitigate the 

authoritative tone by managers when giving directives to subordinates. 

Managers may use self-deprecating humour as a way to be perceived as 

more human and "real" by their employees.<ref name=":03" /> Furthermore, [[ethnography]] studies, carried out in a variety of workplace settings, confirmed the importance of a fun space in the workplace.<ref name=":13" />

The attachment to the notion of fun by contemporary companies has 

resulted in workplace management coming to recognize the potentially 

positive effects of "workplay" and realize that it does not necessarily 

undermine workers’ performance.<ref name=":13" />

Laughter and [[Play (activity)|play]] can unleash [[creativity]], thus raising [[morale]],

so in the interest of encouraging employee consent to the rigours of 

the labour process, management often ignore, tolerate and even actively 

encourage playful practices, with the purpose of furthering 

organizational goals.<ref name=":13" /> Essentially, fun in the workplace is no longer being seen as frivolous.<ref name=":13" />

The most current approach of managed fun and laughter in the workplace 

originated in North America, where it has taken off to such a degree, 

that it has humour consultants flourishing, as some states have 

introduced an official "fun at work" day.<ref name=":13" /> The results have carried claims of [[well-being]] benefits to workers, improved customer experiences and an increase in productivity that organizations can enjoy, as a result.<ref name=":13" /> Others examined results of this movement while focusing around the science of happiness – concerned with [[mental health]], [[motivation]],

community building and national well-being – and drew attention to the 

ability to achieve "flow" through playfulness and stimulate "outside the

box" thinking.<ref name=":13" /> Parallel to this movement is the "[[Positive psychology|positive]]" scholarship that has emerged in [[psychology]] which seeks to empirically theorize the optimization of [[Human potential (disambiguation)|human potential]].<ref name=":13" />

This happiness movement suggests that investing in fun at the 

workplace, by allowing for laughter and play, will not only create [[enjoyment]] and a greater sense of well-being, but it will also enhance energy, performance and commitment in workers.<ref name=":13" />

==Sociological factors==

As with any art form, the acceptance of a particular style or incidence of humour depends on [[sociology|sociological]] factors and varies from person to person. Throughout history, comedy has been used as a form of entertainment all over the world, whether in the courts of the Western kings or the villages of the Far East. Both a social etiquette and a certain intelligence can be displayed through forms of [[wit]] and [[sarcasm]]. Eighteenth-century [[Germany|German]] author [[Georg Lichtenberg]] said that "the more you know humour, the more you become demanding in fineness."{{Citation needed|date=March 2012}}

===Ancient Greece===

Western humour theory begins with [[Plato]], who attributed to [[Socrates]] (as a semi-historical dialogue character) in the ''[[Philebus]]'' (p.&nbsp;49b) the view that the essence of the [[ridiculous]] is an ignorance in the weak, who are thus unable to retaliate when ridiculed. Later, in Greek philosophy, [[Aristotle]], in the ''[[Poetics (Aristotle)|Poetics]]'' (1449a, pp.&nbsp;34–35), suggested that an ugliness that does not disgust is fundamental to humour.


In ancient [[Sanskrit drama]], [[Bharata Muni]]'s ''[[Natya Shastra]]'' defined humour (''hāsyam'') as one of the nine ''[[nava rasas]]'', or principle ''[[Rasa (aesthetics)|rasas]]'' (emotional responses), which can be inspired in the audience by ''bhavas'', the imitations of emotions that the actors perform. Each ''rasa'' was associated with a specific ''[[bhava]]s'' portrayed on stage. In the case of humour, it was associated with mirth (''hasya'').{{Citation needed|date=March 2012}}

===In Arabic culture===

[[file:Hadith imam baqir.svg|thumb|Muhammad al-Baqir's [[Hadith]] about humour]]

The terms [[comedy]] and [[satire]] became synonymous after Aristotle's ''Poetics'' was translated into [[Arabic language|Arabic]] in the [[Islamic Golden Age|medieval Islamic world]], where it was elaborated upon by [[Arabic literature|Arabic writers]] and [[Early Islamic philosophy|Islamic philosophers]] such as [[Abu Bishr Matta ibn Yunus|Abu Bischr]], his pupil [[Al-Farabi]], Persian [[Avicenna]], and [[Averroes]]. Due to cultural differences, they disassociated comedy from [[Greek drama]]tic representation, and instead identified it with Arabic poetic themes and forms, such as ''hija'' (satirical poetry). They viewed comedy as simply the "art of reprehension" and made no reference to light and cheerful events or troublesome beginnings and happy endings associated with classical Greek comedy. After the [[Latin translations of the 12th century]], the term ''comedy'' thus gained a new semantic meaning in [[Medieval literature]].<ref>{{citation|title=Comedy as Satire in Hispano-Arabic Spain|first=Edwin J.|last=Webber|journal=Hispanic Review|volume=26|issue=1|date=January 1958|publisher=[[University of Pennsylvania Press]]|pages=1–11|doi=10.2307/470561|jstor=470561}}</ref>


[[Mento]] star [[Lord Flea]], stated in an 1957 interview that he thought that: "[[West Indians]] have the best sense of humour in the world. Even in the most solemn song, like ''Las Kean Fine'' ["Lost and Can Not Be Found"], which tells of a boiler explosion on a sugar plantation that killed several of the workers, their natural wit and humor shine though."<ref>{{cite web|author=Michael Garnice|date=11 March 2012|accessdate=14 April 2013|url=|title=Mento Music Lord Flea}}</ref>


[[Confucianism|Confucianist]] Chinese culture has traditionally looked down upon humour, making Chinese humour "modest and unnoticeable". Western influences sparked the development of new kinds of humour in the 1970s, particularly a variant of [[black humour]].<ref>{{cite encyclopedia |title=National and Ethnic Differences |first=Liisi |last=Laineste |encyclopedia=Encyclopedia of Humor Studies |editor-first=Salvatore |editor-last=Attardo |publisher=[[Sage Publications|SAGE Publications]] |year=2014 |pages=541–542}}</ref>

[[Shen Zhou]]'s ''Commentary on Growing a Beard'' was written in the manner of [[Chinese classics]], even citing historical examples. Yet, contextually, it was a lighthearted humorous work amongst close friends and literati—Zhao Mingyu, Zhou Zongdao, Yao Cundao, and Shen Zhou—about growing beards.<ref>[ Shen Zhou's Art of Calligraphy]. ''Four Great Masters of the Ming Dynasty: Shen Zhou''. National Palace Museum.</ref>

{{wide image|Commentary on Growing a Beard by Shen Zhou.jpg|1000px|[[Shen Zhou]]’s ''Commentary on Growing a Beard'' }}

=== Social transformation model ===

The social transformation model of humour predicts that specific characteristics, such as physical attractiveness, interact with humour.<ref name=":0">{{Cite journal|url = |title = Heterosexual romantic preferences: The importance of humor and physical attractiveness for different types of relationships|last = Lundy, Tan, Cunningham|first = |date = 1998|journal = Personal Relationships|doi = 10.1111/j.1475-6811.1998.tb00174.x|pmid = |access-date = |volume=5 |pages=311–325}}</ref> This model involves linkages between the humorist, an audience, and the subject matter of the humour.<ref name=":0" /> The two transformations associated with this particular model involves the subject matter of the humour, and the change in the audiences perception of the humorous person, therefore establishing a relationship between the humorous speaker and the audience.<ref name=":0" /> The social transformation model views humour as adaptive because it communicates the present desire to be humorous as well as future intentions of being humorous.<ref name=":0" /> This model is used with deliberate [[self-deprecating humour]] where one is communicating with desires to be accepted into someone else’s specific social group.<ref name=":0" /> Although self-deprecating humour communicates weakness and fallibility in the bid to gain another's affection, it can be concluded from the model that this type of humour can increase romantic attraction towards the humorist when other variables are also favourable.<ref name=":0" />

=== Physical attractiveness ===

[[File:Charlie Chaplin.jpg|right|thumb|upright|[[Charlie Chaplin]] ]]

90% of men and 81% of women, all college students, report having a sense of humour is a crucial characteristic looked for in a romantic partner.<ref>{{Cite journal|url = |title = Student perceptions of traits desired in themselves as dating and marriage partners|last = Hewitt|first = L|date = 1958|journal = Marriage and Family Living|doi = 10.2307/348256|pmid = |access-date =|volume=20|pages=344}}</ref> Humour and honesty were ranked as the two most important attributes in a significant other.<ref>{{Cite journal|url = |title = Sex differences among partner preferences: Are the sexes really very similar?|last = Goodwin|first = R|date = 1990|journal = Sex Roles|doi = 10.1007/bf00289765|pmid = |access-date =|volume=23|pages=501–513}}</ref> It has since been recorded humour becomes more evident and significantly more important as the level of commitment in a romantic relationship increases.<ref>{{Cite journal|url = |title = Evolution, traits, and the stages of the parental investment model|last = Kenrick, Sadalla, Groth, Trost|first = |date = 1990|journal = Journal of Personality|doi = 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1990.tb00909.x|pmid = |access-date = |volume=58 |pages=97–116}}</ref> Recent research suggests expressions of humour in relation to [[physical attractiveness]] are two major factors in the desire for future interaction.<ref name=":0" /> Women regard physical attractiveness less highly compared to men when it came to dating, a serious relationship, and sexual intercourse.<ref name=":0" /> However, women rate humorous men more desirable than nonhumorous individuals for a serious relationship or marriage, but only when these men were physically attractive.<ref name=":0" />

Furthermore, humorous people are perceived by others to be more cheerful but less intellectual than nonhumorous people. [[Self-deprecating humour]] has been found to increase the desirability of physically attractive others for committed relationships.<ref name=":0" />  The results of a study conducted by [[McMaster University]] suggest humour can positively affect one’s desirability for a specific relationship partner, but this effect is only most likely to occur when men use humour and are evaluated by women.<ref name=":1">{{cite journal|url = |title = The influence of humour on desirability|last = Bressler, Balshine|first = |date = 2006|journal = Evolution and Human Behaviour|doi = 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.06.002|pmid = |access-date = |volume=27 |pages=29–39}}</ref> No evidence was found to suggest men prefer women with a sense of humor as partners, nor women preferring other women with a sense of humor as potential partners.<ref name=":1" /> When women were given the forced-choice design in the study, they chose funny men as potential relationship partners even though they rated them as being less honest and intelligent.<ref name=":1" /> Post-Hoc analysis showed no relationship between humour quality and favorable judgments.<ref name=":1" />

== Psychological well-being ==

[[File:Marx Brothers 1931.jpg|thumb|upright|[[Marx Brothers]] 1931.]]

It is generally known that humor contributes to a healthier wellbeing (both physical and psychological).<ref name=":2">{{Cite journal|url = |title = Humor and self-concept|last = Kuiper & Martin|first = |date = 1993|journal = Humor-International Journal of Humor Research|doi = 10.1515/humr.1993.6.3.251|pmid = |access-date = |volume=6}}</ref> Previous research on humor and [[psychological well-being]] show that humor is in fact a major factor in achieving, and sustaining, a healthier more satisfying psychological wellbeing.<ref name=":2" /> This hypothesis is known as general facilitative hypothesis for humor.<ref name=":2" /> That is, positive humor leads to positive health. Contemporary research, however, have failed to support the previous assertion that humor is in fact a cause for healthier psychological wellbeing.<ref>{{Cite journal|url = |title = Laughter and stress in daily life: Relation to positive and negative affect|last = Kuiper & Martin|first = |date = 1998|journal = Motivation and emotion|doi = |pmid = |access-date = }}</ref> Some of the previous researches’ limitations is that they tend to use a unidimensional approach of humor because it was always inferred that humor was deemed positive. They did not consider the types of humor, or [[humor styles]]. For example, self-defeating or aggressive humor.<ref name=":3">{{Cite journal|url = |title = Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the humor styles questionnaire|last = Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray., & Weir|first = |date = 2003|journal = Journal of Research in Personality|doi = 10.1016/s0092-6566(02)00534-2|pmid = |access-date = |volume=37 |pages=48–75}}</ref> Research has proposed 2 types of humor that each consist of 2 styles, making 4 styles in total. The two types are adaptive, and maladaptive humor.<ref name=":3" /> Adaptive humor consist of facilitative and self-enhancing humor, and maladaptive is self-defeating and aggressive humor. Each of these styles have impact on psychological, and the overall individuals’ wellbeing.<ref name=":3" />

(1) Affiliative style humor. Individuals with this dimension of humor tend to use jokes as a mean of affiliating relationships, amuse others, and reduce tensions.<ref name=":3" />

(2) Self-enhancing style humor. People that fall under this dimension of humor tend to take a humorous perspective of life. Individuals with self-enhancing humor tend to use it as a mechanism to cope with [[Stress (biology)|stress]].<ref name=":3" />

(3) Aggressive humor. Racist jokes, sarcasm and disparagement of individuals for the purpose of amusement. This type of humor is used by people who do not consider the consequences of their jokes, and mainly focus on the entertainment of the listeners.<ref name=":3" />

(4) Self-defeating Humor. People with this style of humor tend to amuse others by using self-disparaging jokes, and also tend to laugh along with others when being taunted. It is hypothesized that people use this style of humor as a mean of social acceptance. It is also mentioned that these people may have an implicit feeling of negativity. So they use this humor as a mean of hiding that inner negative feeling.<ref name=":3" />

In the study on humor and psychological well-being, research has concluded that high levels of Adaptive type humor (affiliative and self-enhancing) is associated with better self-esteem, positive affect, greater self-competency, as well as anxiety control and social interactions.<ref name=":4">{{Cite journal|url = |title = Humor is not always the best medicine: Specific components of sense of humor and psychological well-being|last = Kuiper, Grimshaw, Leite., & Kirsh|first = |date = 2004|journal = Humor: International journal of Humor Research|doi = 10.1515/humr.2004.002|pmid = |access-date = |volume=17}}</ref> All of which are constituents of psychological wellbeing. In contrast, maladaptive type humor (aggressive and self-defeating) is associated with poorer overall psychological wellbeing,<ref name=":4" /> emphasis on higher levels of anxiety and depression. Therefore, humor may have detrimental effects on psychological wellbeing, only if that humor is of negative characteristics.<ref name=":4" />

== Physiological effects ==

[[File:Boris Yeltsin with Bill Clinton-1.jpg|thumbnail|[[Boris Yeltsin]] and  [[Bill Clinton]] enjoying a joke, in spite of their language differences]]

Humour is often used to make light of difficult or stressful situations and to brighten up a social atmosphere in general. It is regarded by many as an enjoyable and positive experience, so it would be reasonable to assume that it humour might have some positive physiological effects on the body.

A study designed to test the positive physiological effects of humour,  the relationship between being exposed to humour and pain tolerance in particular, was conducted in 1994 by Karen Zwyer, Barbara Velker, and Willibald Ruch. To test the effects of humour on pain tolerance the test subjects were first exposed to a short humorous video clip and then exposed to the Cold Press Test. To identify the aspects of humour which might contribute to an increase in pain tolerance the study separated its fifty six female participants into three groups, cheerfulness, exhilaration and humour production. The subject were further separated into two groups, high Trait-Cheerfulness and high Trait-Seriousness according to the State-Trait-Cheerfulness-Inventory. The instructions for the three groups were as follows: the cheerfulness group were told to get excited about the movie without laughing or smiling, the exhilaration group was told to laugh and smile excessively, exaggerating their natural reactions, the humour production group was told to make humorous comments about the video clip as they watched. To ensure that the participants actually found the movie humorous and that it produced the desired effects the participants took a survey on the topic which resulted in a mean score of 3.64 out of 5. The results of the Cold Press Test showed that the participants in all three groups experienced a higher pain threshold, a higher pain tolerance and a lower pain tolerance than previous to the film. The results did not show a  significant difference between the three groups.<ref>"Do cheerfulness, exhilaration, and humor production moderate pain tolerance? A FACS study". ''ResearchGate''. Retrieved 2015-08-11.</ref>

There are also potential relationships between humour and having a healthy immune system. SIgA is a type of antibody that protects the body from infections. In a method similar to the previous experiment, the participants were shown a short humorous video clip and then tested for the effects. The participants showed a significant increase in SIgA levels.<ref>{{cite journal | last1 = Bennett | first1 = Mary Payne | last2 = Lengacher | first2 = Cecile | year = 2009 | title = Humor and Laughter May Influence Health IV. Humor and Immune Function | url = | journal = Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM | volume = 6 | issue = 2| pages = 159–164 | doi = 10.1093/ecam/nem149 | pmid = 18955287 | pmc=2686627}}</ref>

There have been claims that laughter can be a supplement for cardiovascular exercise and might increase muscle tone.<ref>{{cite journal | last1 = Bennett | first1 = Mary Payne | last2 = Lengacher | first2 = Cecile | year = 2008 | title = Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes | url = | journal = Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM | volume = 5 | issue = 1| pages = 37–40 | doi = 10.1093/ecam/nem041 | pmid = 18317546 | pmc=2249748}}</ref> However an early study by Paskind J. showed that laughter can lead to a decrease in skeletal muscle tone because the short intense muscle contractions caused by laughter are followed by longer periods of muscle relaxation. The cardiovascular benefits of laughter also seem to be just a figment of imagination as a study that was designed to test oxygen saturation levels produced by laughter, showed that even though laughter creates sporadic episodes of deep breathing, oxygen saturation levels are not affected.<ref>{{cite journal | last1 = Fry | first1 = W. F. | last2 = Stoft | first2 = P. E. | year = 1971 | title = Mirth and oxygen saturation levels of peripheral blood | url = | journal = Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics | volume = 19 | issue = 1| pages = 76–84 | pmid = 5146348 | doi=10.1159/000286308}}</ref>

As humour is often used to ease tension, it might make sense that the same would be true for anxiety. A study by Yovetich N, Dale A, Hudak M. was designed to test the effects humour might have on relieving anxiety. The study subject were told that they would be given to an electric shock after a certain period of time. One group was exposed to humorous content, while the other was not. The anxiety levels were measured through self-report measures as well as the heart rate. Subjects which rated high on sense of humour reported less anxiety in both groups, while subjects which rated lower on sense of humour reported less anxiety in the group which was exposed to the humorous material. However, there was not a significant difference in the heart rate between the subjects.<ref>{{cite journal | last1 = Yovetich | first1 = N. A. | last2 = Dale | first2 = J. A. | last3 = Hudak | first3 = M. A. | year = 1990 | title = Benefits of humor in reduction of threat-induced anxiety | url = | journal = Psychological Reports | volume = 66 | issue = 1| pages = 51–58 | doi = 10.2466/pr0.1990.66.1.51 | pmid = 2326429 }}</ref>


[[File:Kopfloser Böhringer.JPG|thumb|upright|[[Surprise (emotion)|Surprise]] is a component of humour.]]

[[File:Europe 2007 Disk 1 340.jpg|thumb|upright|[[Forced perspective]] used for "comic effect" in front of the [[Leaning Tower of Pisa]]]]

Humour can be verbal, visual, or physical. Non-verbal forms of communication–for example, music or visual art–can also be humorous.

===Root components===

* [[Observational comedy|Being reflective]] of or imitative of [[reality]]

* [[Surprise (emotion)|Surprise]]/[[Misdirection (magic)|misdirection]], [[contradiction]]/[[paradox]], [[ambiguity]].


* [[Farce]]

* [[Hyperbole]]

* [[Metaphor]]

* [[Pun]]

* [[Framing (social sciences)|Reframing]]<!-- This is not about the NLP-type of reframing. Do not make this a wikilink to that [[Reframing]]. -->

* [[Comic timing|Timing]]

===Behaviour, place and size===

[[Rowan Atkinson]] explains in his lecture in the documentary ''[[Funny Business (TV series)|Funny Business]]''<ref>Rowan Atkinson/David Hinton, ''Funny Business'' (tv series), Episode 1 - aired 22 November 1992, UK, Tiger Television Productions</ref> that an object or a person can become funny in three ways:

* by behaving in an unusual way,

* by being in an unusual place,

* by being the wrong size.

Most [[sight gag]]s fit into one or more of these categories.



Some theoreticians of the comic consider exaggeration to be a universal comic device.<ref>Emil Draitser, ''Techniques of Satire'' (1994) p. 135</ref> It may take different forms in different genres, but all rely on the fact that the easiest way to make things laughable is to exaggerate to the point of absurdity their salient traits.<ref>M. Eastman/W. Fry, ''Enjoyment of Laughter'' (2008) p. 156</ref>


Different cultures have different typical expectations of humour so comedy shows are not always successful when transplanted into another culture. For example,  a 2004 [[BBC News]] article discusses a stereotype among [[British humour|British comedians]] that Americans and Germans do not understand [[irony]], and therefore UK [[sitcom]]s are not appreciated by them.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Do the Americans get irony?|publisher=[[BBC News]]|date=27 January 2004|accessdate=2 April 2012}}</ref>

==See also==

* [[British humour]]

* [[Deadpan]]

* [[Form-versus-content humour]]

* [[Gelotology]], the study of laughing and laughter

* [[Humour in translation]]

* [[Humor styles]]

* [[Laughter in literature]]

* [[List of humorists]]

* [[Surreal humour]]

* [[Theories of humor]]



==Further reading==

*Alexander, Richard (1984), ''Verbal humor and variation in English: Sociolinguistic notes on a variety of jokes''

*Alexander, Richard (1997), ''[ Aspects of verbal humour in English]''

  • {{citation | last = Basu | first =S | title= Dialogic ethics and the virtue of humor | journal =Journal of Political Philosophy | publisher =Blackwell Publishing Ltd | date= December 1999 | volume =Vol. 7 | issue =No. 4 | pages =378–403 | url= | doi =10.1111/1467-9760.00082 | accessdate =2007-07-06 }} (Abstract)

*Billig, M. (2005). ''Laughter and ridicule: Towards a social critique of humour''. London: Sage. ISBN 1-4129-1143-5

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*{{citation | last = Wogan | first = Peter | title = Laughing At ''First Contact'' | journal = Visual Anthropology Review | date =Spring 2006 | volume = Vol. 22 | issue = No. 1 | pages =14–34 | publication-date = 12 December 2006 | url= | doi = 10.1525/var.2006.22.1.14 | accessdate =2007-07-06 }} (Abstract)

==External links==


{{Commons category|Humor photos}}

{{Commons category|humor}}


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  • {{Dmoz|Recreation/Humor/|Humor}}

*[ International Society for Humor Studies]


{{Authority control}}

[[Category:Defence mechanisms]]



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