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

Should Health Care Providers Joke About Patients?

By Jean Kim M.D. on February 26, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Medical Gallows Humor can help providers cope, but at what cost to the care provider-patient relationship?

5 Ways That Men’s Friendships Differ From Women’s

How different are men's and women's friendships? There are at least 5 important ways that friendships among men differ from friendships among women.

Do Friends Shame You For Not Believing Them?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Ambigamy
We have freedom of speech, but we have to earn our audience and credibility. The sooner we realize this, the freer we become and the more responsibility we take for getting heard and winning hearts and minds.

5 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Relationship

Relationships are an important part of our overall happiness and even our health. As satisfying as they can be, they can also present us with significant challenges. These research-based 5 suggestions will help you tip the cost-reward balance in your favor, for your sake, and that of your partner.

Can You Turn Your Weaknesses Into a Strength?

Let’s be honest, although we all have them no-one really likes having these weaknesses pointed out. Especially when it comes to our work.

Discovering Peace of Mind

By Leon Pomeroy Ph.D. on February 22, 2015 in Beyond Good and Evil
I became the person I always wanted to be

A Psychologist Views Why Moms Get Nothing Done

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on February 21, 2015 in Good Thinking
Imitation is a powerful form of learning that comes on-line early in development and shapes who we become.

Discussing Illness Without Alienating the Ill

By Julie K Hersh on February 20, 2015 in Struck By Living
The arts offer an unthreatening microscope and telescope to examine stories, which we can adapt to our own healing.

21 Ways to Get Closer to Your Child Today

Research shows that we need at least five positive interactions to each negative interaction to maintain a healthy, happy relationship that can weather the normal conflicts and upsets of daily life. This is true for our relationships with our children as well.

4 Ways to Keep Your Cool, No Matter What

With these four simple steps we can become emotionally resilient, gracefully and calmly handling every situation that comes our way.

In Love and Life, Keep a Sense of Humor

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on February 17, 2015 in Emotional Fitness
We cannot travel through life without hitting a few speed bumps. When you can find the humor in it, things will go much easier for both of you. Sometimes that may take a little effort, and perhaps you will find something amusing and your partner will not, or the other way around, and that’s OK. A sense of humor may be your best friend (next to your mate).

Oh Denmark, My Denmark…

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on February 16, 2015 in Time Out
History is replete with examples of political leadership in denial, allowing problems to grow inadequately addressed for too long. With the attack in Copenhagen, the Islamist war against the West can no longer be denied.

Mr. Putin, Would You Lie Still So We Can Scan Your Brain?

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on February 15, 2015 in Caveman Politics
How do we predict dangerous leaders' actions when they won't answer our proven psychological questionnaires or lie still for our fMRI bran scans? Well, here are a couple of choices.

Obama on BuzzFeed: Selfie Sticks & Health Insurance

Obama's BuzzFeed video 'Things Everybody Does but Doesn’t Talk About' shows him mugging about, taking selfies and playing air basketball to get young people to visit HealthCare.gov. For leaders, there is a difficult balance between what’s human and relatable and what engenders confidence. How important is that balance?

Fifty Shades of Grey Review

By Sari Cooper L.C.S.W. on February 13, 2015 in Sex Esteem
The long anticipated movie has finally hit the screens! Here are some thoughts coming from a Certified Sex Therapist.

Joni Mitchell on New York Magazine: Is The Photo Disturbing?

I hope to see my idols looking and sounding as if they are enjoying themselves as they reach the season of harvest (not so very far away from any of us). That's what I long for but very rarely see.

Protection Compulsion...A Case Study

By Teri Woods Ph.D. on February 11, 2015 in Compulsive!
A psychologist can't fix what they don't know about. Sometimes a patient's defenses can be so strong they thwart their own treatment. But if a therapist slips into detective mode, he/she just might find enough clues to find out what's really going on.

How Texting Can Strengthen a Relationship

By Kira Asatryan on February 11, 2015 in The Art of Closeness
Digital communication can cause many misunderstandings. But it's also the most convenient form of communication we have. Learn how to use it to foster closeness in your relationships, not distance.

Can You Manage Up With a Bad Boss?

Bad bosses have become a pandemic it seems, and perhaps the only comfort is that you’re not alone. But take heart. Assuming your boss isn’t completely intolerable (most bad bosses behave badly episodically)—you can help take control. The best person to manage your boss…is you, because you know how your boss can be a better manager. It does take time and patience, though.

What Happens to Students on the Fast Track to College?

Most of us spend four years in high school, but every once in a while you’ll hear about some prodigy who enters college earlier than typical. For example, Murray Gell-Mann, the Nobel Prize winning physicist, entered Yale University at age 15. Gell-Mann turned out pretty successful, but what about people who entered college early as a whole?

Caught Off-Guard by Breast Cancer: First Impressions

By Toni Bernhard J.D. on February 09, 2015 in Turning Straw Into Gold
Except for what I’ve been told by people who’ve written to me about their experiences with cancer, this was a new medical arena for me. I’ve learned that it’s a world onto its own in many ways. Nothing was familiar to me. It’s been a disorienting experience.

10 Myths About Love, Exploded

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on February 08, 2015 in Creating in Flow
These are some of my favorite things: the color blue, strawberries for dessert, and the emotion called love. But what exactly is love? Can you be in and out of it at the same time? Myths abound.

5 Research-Backed Reasons We Wear Makeup

Today's cosmetics are not as arbitrary as they might seem.

Leaving Junior High Behind

By Rick Miller LICSW on February 05, 2015 in Unwrapped
Though we may have left junior high school a long time ago, the scars from the shame, humiliation, and fear we experienced in those years may still be with us.

Staying Home

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in One Among Many
There are two psychologies of religion. One shows that religion is a poor way of ‘knowing.’ The other shows that religion is a stubborn social phenomenon.

Cats Get Bad Press (Again)

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in Pets and Their People
British columnist Caitlin Moran confesses to hating one of her cats—but it’s all down to a misunderstanding (or two).

Hope: Entertainer of the Century, A Book Review

Bob Hope was arguably the most successful American entertainer of the 20th century.

A Free Speech Fairy Tale

Humor and satire were viewed as the rightful modes of expression they always had been, and always would be. The sharing of humor is one of the main ways people rise above adversity, and bond, and become better people.

Anger and Vulnerability

In the heat of ego defense, truth is the first casualty.

What Makes a Good Pun?

By Richard Smith Ph.D. on January 16, 2015 in Joy and Pain
Punsters often insert puns into serious situations, thereby disrupting the hearer's goals. This produces groans of anger and frustration even if the puns are clever. The best puns are both clever and also succeed in furthering rather than disrupting the hearer's goals and in enhancing meaning.