Theories of Humor

Theories Of Humor

There are many theories of humour which attempt to explain what humour is, what social functions it serves, and what would be considered humorous. It would be very difficult to explain humour to a hypothetical person who did not have a sense of humour already. In fact, to such a person humour would appear to be quite strange if not outright irrational behavior. Among the prevailing types of theories that attempt to account for the existence of humour there are: psychological theories, the vast majority of which consider humour to be very healthy behavior; there are spiritual theories which may, for instance consider humour to be a "gift from God;" there are also theories that consider humour to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience. Although various classical theories of humour and laughter may be found, in contemporary academic literature, three theories of humour appear repeatedly: relief theory, superiority theory, and incongruity theory. Among current humour researchers, there is no consensus about which of these three theories of humour is most viable. Proponents of each one originally claimed their theory to be capable of explaining all cases of humour, however, they now acknowledge that although each theory generally covers its own area of focus, many instances of humour can be explained by more than one theory. Incongruity and superiority theories, for instance, seem to describe complementary mechanisms which together create humour.

Read more about Theories Of Humor:  Relief Theory, Superiority Theory, Incongruity Theory, General Theory of Verbal Humor, Computational-Neural Theory of Humor, Ontic-Epistemic Theory of Humor, Sexual Selection, Detection of Mistaken Reasoning, Misattribution Theory, Benign Violation Theory, Humor As Defense Mechanism, Sense of Humor, Sense of Seriousness, Metaphor and Metonymy, See Also

Famous quotes containing the words theories of, humor and/or theories:

    Whatever practical people may say, this world is, after all, absolutely governed by ideas, and very often by the wildest and most hypothetical ideas. It is a matter of the very greatest importance that our theories of things that seem a long way apart from our daily lives, should be as far as possible true, and as far as possible removed from error.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95)

    Let me work;
    For I can give his humor the true bent.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    It takes twenty or so years before a mother can know with any certainty how effective her theories have been—and even then there are surprises. The daily newspapers raise the most frightening questions of all for a mother of sons: Could my once sweet babes ever become violent men? Are my sons really who I think they are?
    Mary Kay Blakely (20th century)