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

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

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?

Don Rickles, the Master Roaster, Dies at 90

By Izzy Kalman on April 16, 2017 in Resilience to Bullying
Don Rickles, one of the greatest roasters of all time, died last week. In today's culture, he could easily be considered a bully, but in reality he promotes the antidote.

Toward a Quantum Model of Humor

By Liane Gabora Ph.D. on April 06, 2017 in Mindbloggling
The bisociation of incongruous frames or word meanings in jokes is modelled as a linear superposition of basis states, or possible interpretations, in a complex Hilbert space.

Workplace Humor Has Some Unexpected Benefits

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on March 30, 2017 in ExperiMentations
The proper use of humor increases status, confidence and competence in the eyes of others. When humor backfires, the damage can be irreparable. New research shows us how.

11 Ways to Sound Like a Better Lover

By Donna Barstow on March 29, 2017 in Ink Blots Cartoons
A great way to say goodbye that guarantees more hellos.

How to Read His Mind

By Donna Barstow on March 29, 2017 in Ink Blots Cartoons
What is he really trying to tell you?

Rediscovering a Zest for Life

By John Sean Doyle on March 27, 2017 in Luminous Things
When we seek the strange or exotic that is just outside our door, we can rediscover who we really are and begin to live our lives more passionately.

Cracking a Joke At Work Can Have a Surprising Payoff

By Art Markman Ph.D. on March 14, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
Humor is common in the workplace. Does it make help people to achieve their goals at work?

The Lost Origin of Coulrophobia, the Abnormal Fear of Clowns

How serious an issue is an abnormal fear of clowns? Where did the term coulrophobia even come from? The answer may be lost to time, locked away behind a wall built by brain trauma.

Funny Philosophers

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on February 23, 2017 in Play in Mind
Can philosophers afford to be funny when asking the ultimate questions about life, the universe, and everything?

National Single Awareness Day Comes but Once a Year

By Frances Kuffel on February 14, 2017 in What Fat Women Want
Maybe it should be called National Single Undying-Gratitude Day.

Are You Always Busier Than Everyone Else? Do You Want to Be?

Instead of enjoying our time, we learned to manage it. We pass the day checking off tasks from lists as is if having to prove to Life's Parking Attendant we were here legally.

Having Fun Being Funny

By Bernard L. De Koven on February 07, 2017 in On Having Fun
In some games, victory comes not from being best, but from having the most fun. Together.

Happiness Needs an Invitation, Misery Barges In

Joy and pleasure are, instead, excellent guests and, as such, they wait for an invitation. You have to open the door to life’s best moments; you have to invite them in.
"My_Boss_Is_A_J-E-R-K!" by Nyttend/Public Domain

The Mensch, the Goofball, the Jerk, and the Asshole

By Christopher A. Robert Ph.D. on January 16, 2017 in Humor at Work
Humor skill is important, but perhaps even more important are the underlying reasons why people use humor.