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

Do You Look Your Age? Why Would You Want to Look Younger?

I refuse to spend money on "anti-aging" products. I want to age. The opposite of aging isn't staying young; it's death.

15 Things To Know About Food: The Truth Nobody Tells You

Kale is overrated. Don't kid yourself. It's a fad. Next we'll be eating plankton, and they'll be telling us to sieve it through our teeth like whales. Have coffee and a bagel.
photo by Dianne Grande

Using Humor to Boost Relationship Satisfaction

By Dianne Grande Ph.D. on September 29, 2017 in In It Together
Are you using humor to boost your relationship satisfaction?

The Neuroscience of Contagious Laughter

By Christopher Bergland on September 29, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
For the first time, neuroscientists have identified why laughter is contagious.

What Steals Our Sense of Humor?

By Anneli Rufus on September 22, 2017 in Stuck
What if we used to be funny, then stopped? Can we bring laughter back?

A Reflection on Creepy Mustaches and Creepy Hobbies

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on September 22, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
How you spend your leisure time may signal how uncomfortable others expect to be when they interact with you; in other words, your hobbies can be a way of flaunting creepiness.

Questions Nobody Ever Answered

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on September 03, 2017 in Fighting Fear
I am still troubled as I have grown very old with the big questions in life. Here they are.
Ryan McGuire/Gratisography

Modern Love

By Elizabeth Young on September 01, 2017 in Adaptations
How much organizing should one woman do to go out to dinner and split the bill? 

Laughter Can Be a Double-edged Sword

The social importance of laughter is that it’s a form of communication to others. It's effect can buoy spirits or deflate them. Be careful how you use it.

Teen Attitude, Teen Trouble

It’s hard to parent a teenager. It's even harder to be one. Here are eleven attitudes and actions that can help make it easier for you, and might even make it easier for your kid.

A Psychology of Humor

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on August 10, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
Jokes hold up a mirror in which we can learn to see our hidden hopes and fears and ask, What kind of animals are we?

Humor Is Social Media’s Antidote for Fire and Fury News

In the midst of fire and fury political rhetoric, we should be grateful for the jokes and parodies across Twitter. They can make us less anxious.

When Jokes are Actually Angry Lies

By David J Ley Ph.D. on August 03, 2017 in Women Who Stray
When can we, should we, allow angry lies to be defended as jokes?

Bridging the Gap with Your Teen or Young Adult

By Mendi Baron on July 04, 2017 in On the Verge
Pulling your hair out trying to relate to your teen or young adult? A change in perspective, proper planning, and some elbow grease can go a long way.

My Days as a Crappy TV Mom

Ever wonder how "Hollywood" moms deal with their fictional versions of themselves and their children? Here is a peek...

Are You A Parenting "Know It All"?

"Parenthood is a contagious disease," Jeff Terry observes. "It's like smoking. Even though we can witness, firsthand, the devastation caused by parenting, it spreads.”

Nobody Does It Better

Humor, which clashes with the intensity of romantic love, can be valuable in romance. Is humor always good in love? Is it useful for seduction? Should we tell jokes during sex?

Being "Good in Bed"

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on June 25, 2017 in Fighting Fear
Many men and women worry about not being "good in bed." The advice I give applies to many other sort of personal encounters: a first date, a job interview, or selling something

Humor Sometimes Makes Stressful Situations Better

By Art Markman Ph.D. on June 21, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
Jokes and witty conversation can make you feel closer to the people around you. Is this how humor helps with stress?

Some Tips for Staying Married

Suggestions from a long-married guy for keeping your marriage going beyond those first few crazy-in-love passionate years (or months).

Comedy As Church

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 15, 2017 in Ambigamy
Comedy, like art or religion, can be a chance for us to commune together in our unrequitable quest for relief from the messiness of life.
Public Domain, George Herriman

Democrats, Take a Republican to Lunch (and vice Versa)

Is it possible to heal our divided society? Find out how two famous people reached across a big barrier with great success. And discover what made that success possible: humor.

The Doctor Is In: New Web Series Explores the World of Kink

A new web series provides insight, humor and education about BDSM.

5 Best Topics for Polite Conversation (and Bonus Tips!)

With a few questions, you can learn something significant about a person's life.

More About Dunning-Kruger

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on May 26, 2017 in Pop Psych
It is often joked that the worst performers are the most unaware at how bad they are, relative to others. The extent to which that is true depends heavily on the task at hand

When Is the Best Time to Have Sex?

Misinformation about sex is just about as pernicious as no information about sex. Both are worse than having lots of information about sex.

Rats! Sometimes Psychiatrists Get It Wrong

By Joseph A. Shrand M.D. on May 07, 2017 in The I-M Approach
Sometimes things are not what they appear to be in a locked psychiatric inpatient unit. This is a short story about a man who saw rats, and no one believed him.

Why Play Is Important

Of course we enjoy having fun, but does play have important biological benefits?

Peekaboo: Joy Might Just Surprise You

Remembering to laugh is essential. It can’t make the darkness go away, but it does admit the light.
Getty Images

Don Rickles: Can Humor Go Too Far?

By Jane Greer Ph.D. on April 21, 2017 in Shrink Wrap
Can't you take a joke?