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

Cluelessness 101

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
One of the seldom mentioned perks of being a college professor is the opportunity to play a role in the divine comedy of college life, but we professors are not the stars of the show.

Tweeting As Therapy

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in Ambigamy
A lot of therapy focuses on "what's wrong with you?" but eventually graduates to what's up with us?," an embrace of the human condition in all its details. One way to play with "what's up with us?" is to take notes like a social scientist. Observe, reflect, jot share.

Entrepreneurs: 8 Tips for Telling Your Hero Story

If you are an entrepreneur, a salesperson, a comic, or a speaker, there is a story that you need to know and tell.

15 Kinds of Verbal Abuse

"The ability to feel, like the ability to think, is universal to the nature of humanity. Unfortunately, the abuser is generally unwilling to accept his feelings and unwilling to reveal them to his partner. He builds a wall between himself and his partner He maintains a distance." -- Patricia Evans

Why Laughter Is Contagious

By Rob Kendall on March 26, 2015 in Blamestorming
How does laughter work? Who laughs more when telling a joke - the speaker or the listener? Are there different types of laughter? And do we laugh randomly or not?

Two Synesthetes Walk Into a Bar...

By Maureen Seaberg on March 25, 2015 in Sensorium
What's So Funny About Synesthesia? Plenty!

How to Override the Assumptions Others Make About You

Assumptions come in many varieties, but two of the most powerful and pervasive of these are confirmation bias and the primacy effect.

How Being Funny Can Save You Money

Having a sense of humor can save you money. I learned that while working as a comic. I’ve found out that when you make someone laugh, they feel positively toward you and will actually give you discounts. Here's how to do it...

13 Ways to Be Friendship Smart

How does your Friendship Quotient measure up? Here are 13 key personal traits that strongly influence friendship quality.

Do You Feel Sexy on the Inside?

By Rick Miller LICSW on March 23, 2015 in Unwrapped
Expanding the ways in which we feel “sexy” is good for everyone (yup, except maybe for the beauty industry that sells just one way).

Five Strategies to Tame Your Inner Critic

You can’t get rid of your inner critic. It's just part of the human mind. But you can greatly reduce its fear level, and get it serving, rather than running, you. Here's a 5 Step Process to Tame Your Inner Critic.

A Peculiar Work Situation

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on March 22, 2015 in Fighting Fear
There may be worse problems at work than simply being paid very little and being asked to do the job of two or three people all at once.

The Disadvantages of Having a Mistress

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on March 22, 2015 in Fighting Fear
I think it is important to be conservative in dealing with the matter of mistresses, especially more than one.

Ask Your Doctor if You Are Healthy Enough for Sex

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on March 22, 2015 in Fighting Fear
How to reassure patients when they ask their doctor if they are healthy enough for sex (should the occasion of their asking ever arise.)

How Do You Behave With a Dying Loved One?

By Lucy O'Donnell on March 20, 2015 in Cancer Is a Teacher
Being given a "Do and Don't" list when visiting my dying friend may sound strange but was possibly one of the most helpful things to receive. It not only put my friend at ease, but also me. Visiting dying loved ones is traumatic and devastating, but knowing how to behave with that person makes it an easier experience for all.

Do You Like Your Sister?

Sympathy, compassion, understanding, respect, generosity and a willingness to forgive are essential features of every important relationship, including ones between members of an immediate family.

Science and the Online Dating Profile

Online dating is the new singles bar, one in which your words won't be drowned out by the music. But which words should you use? There is some scientific evidence about relatively more effective ways to turn an online contact into a real huggable moment.

What Do You Really Know About Online Dating?

It’s becoming socially more acceptable to admit to finding a mate online, but there remain many misconceptions about online dating. Find out your online dating IQ with this 8-item quiz that separates myth from reality.

Are You Giving Up on Love?

Our tolerance for love is established early in our lives and is based on our unique experiences. As a result, love doesn’t always just slip away; we push it away…actively. To the degree that we ourselves control the amount of love we will tolerate, we control our romantic destiny. While we may not realize it, in countless, quiet ways, we may be giving up on love.

Jealous Mothers and Their Daughters: The Last Dirty Secret?

By Peg Streep on March 16, 2015 in Tech Support
Maternal envy, perhaps the biggest taboo of all, needs to be addressed and discussed, not just for the sake of daughters but for mothers as well.

Funny Business

By Katherine Preston on March 11, 2015 in Out With It
Does humor create or destroy intimacy?

Oklahoma Fraternity Incident, Just a “Joke?"

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on March 10, 2015 in Without Prejudice
Psychologists often study the up-side of humor (well-being, social bonding). But what are the implications of passing off derogatory communications, such as jokes or chants, as harmless and thus not to be judged seriously?

What My Son Has Taught Me About Autism and Parenting

By Stephen Borgman on March 10, 2015 in Spectrum Solutions
Here's a simple way to improve your parenting on the autism spectrum.

The Book That Changed My Life

By Sheila Kohler on March 09, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
I first encountered Proust’s work in what might be considered rather adverse yet somewhat Proustian circumstances. He was a favorite writer of my ex-husband and his southern mother who had discovered Proust on her own in the library in Kentucky where she had taken out Scott Montcrieff’s translation of Remembrance of Things past, and read it by chance.

Surprising Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship

Neuroscience provides new clues about what makes strong couples

20 Expert Tactics for Dealing with Difficult People

You can't reason with an unreasonable person, but verbal de-escalation techniques can help. Learn how professionals handle the most difficult of situations.

Who Is an Adult?

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 03, 2015 in The Prime of Life
What does it mean to be a 21st century adult?

The Top 9 Reasons I Hate Anxiety

Here are the top 9 reasons I hate anxiety--and you should too!

Because I Hurt When She Hurts

Tim and Kelly shifted from being critical and angry to working together to build a positive future. Their psychotherapy group for couples gives feedback about the impact of knowing a couple who practices positivity daily.

How I Try to Make My Work Life Healthy

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in How To Do Life
We're working longer and harder. At least we can work healthier.