All About Humor

Humor is serious business. Sure, there's simple comedy like a pie in the face or an Adam Sandler movie, but a lot of jokes display real intellect, and despite much reflection and experimentation—both in labs and on stages—no one has yet discovered a unified theory of hilarity. Humor can be used for bonding, releasing tension, attracting a mate, putting a rival in his place, or entertaining a child. It has as many functions and styles as there are variations on the light bulb joke. 

Recent Posts on Humor

Nothing Says "Old Dude" Like Getting a Motorcycle

What is it with old dudes and motorcycles? Is it a last defiant statement that the real man hiding inside looks more like Steve McQueen in "The Great Escape" than Kevin James in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop?" Or is it the simple joy of having something powerful throbbing between your legs once again?

6 Ways to Get What You Want (Without Being Called a Whiner)

We tend to associate whining with the behavior of toddlers, but there are plenty of adults who could equal the whininess of any two-year-old. These 6 tips will help you turn your complaints into effective strategies to get others to gladly give you what you want.

This Proves That Men Are Visual Creatures

By Donna Barstow on June 29, 2015 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Some men are wonderful conversationalists, but others don't say much at all, and prefer to let their eyes do the talking.

Ladies and Gentlemen

While these days I don’t think we’re hearing “lady” (and “ladies”) as much as “gentleman” (and “gentlemen”), when we do hear “lady,” it still carries an aura of goodness. But this association with goodness seems to be much more the case for lady than for gentleman. “Gentleman” is still widely used simply as a synonym for “man," sometimes even the perpetrator of a crime.

This May Be the Secret to Happiness in Relationships

You may think the best way to deepen your relationship is to have serious, deep discussions about your thoughts and feelings. However, it may be that sharing a smile rather than deep feelings can be as good, if not better, for your relationship’s long-term health.

Finding the Humor in Sadness (and Monsters)

By Mark Peters on June 11, 2015 in Laughing Stock
Frank Lesser discusses comedy and his book Sad Monsters.

Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on June 10, 2015 in Fighting Fear
"Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder", made more scientific by the abstinence-desire index (the ADI)

Aerobic Laughing: A New Weight Loss Plan

Just like all of us, I've been captivated by Caitlyn Jenner's courageous transformation. She inspired me to take a look at my own body and finally find a way to become the skinny person I've always wanted to be—via laughter.

Should I Quit?

Science says, "You should quit your job."

Thinking about Death and Pain Makes People Funnier

Death anxiety may promotes humor creativity

Facing Our Two-Facedness

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
We all want opposite things. Life goes better and gets more interesting when you admit that you do, too.

12 Tips for Greater Psychological Health

Six personal qualities are considered "mature defenses" and can contribute to a happier and healthier life. This blog outlines these traits and some suggestions for how to develop them.

Why I Believe in Bigfoot

By William Irwin Ph.D. on May 15, 2015 in Plato on Pop
No, I don’t believe THAT Bigfoot exists. I just believe it is possible. What’s more, I believe IN Bigfoot. I believe IN Bigfoot the way I would believe IN a friend’s innocence even if I didn’t believe THAT he was innocent. I believe IN Bigfoot precisely because I don’t believe IN much else.

Black Comedians Poke Fun at Racial Stereotypes

Black Comedians Poke Fun at Racial Stereotypes. The comedian’s goal is to get us to laugh with him while laughing at him. By Michelle Stephens, PhD

Want to Increase Trust in Others? Just Smile

By Gil Greengross Ph.D. on April 30, 2015 in Humor Sapiens
Want to Increase Trust in Others? Just Smile

New Film Features a Borderline Woman Who Starts a TV Show

By Randi Kreger on April 29, 2015 in Stop Walking on Eggshells
When Alice wins the Mega-Millions lottery in the new film "Welcome to Me," she quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show hoping to be the next Oprah.

The Real Reason Some Women Put Themselves Down

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in Good Thinking
Women usually respond to compliments by putting themselves down. Research shows that the reason for this is not low self-esteem or self-hatred. Instead, it is something far more subtle, strategic...and powerful.

Peanut Butter is My Gateway Drug

By Gregg McBride on April 25, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
Taking the taboo and shame out of a binge can help shed light—and perhaps even some laughter—onto the addictive habits that might be holding us back from finding forgiveness, compassion and (ultimately) success.

Parental Warmth: Simple, Powerful, and Often Challenging

Amidst all the chatter about parenting styles and techniques, it is easy to forget about the importance of warmth. This overlooked dimension is found to be critical to child development in study after study, so why don’t we give it the attention it deserves?

The 4 Styles of Humor

What do you find funny, and what sort of humor appeals to you? Research has focused on different humor styles, and distinguishes four types.

Whom Would You Rather Marry: Stress or Pressure?

A life of stress is tough so don't add pressure to it!

Redditor to Redditor

Young men are finding new ways to reach out to each other and older generations for advice and mentorship.

Overweight as a Hollywood Character

By Ann Goebel-Fabbri PhD on April 14, 2015 in Weighty Matters
This partly satirical essay uses a mainstream Hollywood film as a subtle example of weight stereotyping.

Add Humor to Your Job and Boost Your Career

Take the brave step of experimenting with more well-placed humor at your job. By going outside your normal comfort zone with some easy-to-follow tips, you may develop a much more appealing work environment for yourself, and advance your career.

8 Tips For Teasing Lovingly To Relieve Partnership Tension

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Ambigamy
Healthy teasing can make partners feel safe and free. Unhealthy teasing can make partners feel unsafe and unfree. Here are a few ideas about how to stay on the healthy side of teasing, especially when your working to expand how safe and free you both feel.

10 Great Ways to Get to Know New People Without Awkwardness

Icebreakers are a traditional way to overcome the original awkwardness that many people feel when they first form a group. Whether it’s with a class, a set of co-workers, or a volunteer committee, a little psychology will go a long way toward building group cohesion and identity.

The Macabre Side of Growing Up Catholic

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
There is no shortage of ferocity and bloodshed in the traditions and histories of most religions. However, it is curious how those living within their personal theological fishbowls can so clearly see the barbarism of other people’s practices while celebrating the holiness of their own.

Why Inappropriate Laughter Is Often Contagious

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
The worst case of inappropriate laughter I've ever seen—can you resist giggling when you see it?

Lessening Alzheimer’s Discordance: Five Recommendations

Dealing with the differing views of the illness held by the person with Alzheimer's disease and the care partner is a challenging but critical task. Lessening this discordance enormously reduces care partner stress, and is valuable for the person with the disease, as well.