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

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.

Honest Sex Ed

What you would say, if you were very being honest, about the role of sex in a life?

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.

Curiosity: The Heart of Lifelong Learning

What makes children want to learn? Curious children often spend a great deal of time reading and acquiring knowledge because they sense a gap between what they know and what they want to know—not because they are motivated by grades.

'The Eureka Factor' and Your Creative Brain

By Jeffrey Davis M.A. on April 13, 2015 in Tracking Wonder
A creative insight can be as small as landing on an angle for a blog post or as big as discovering a fresh angle for a new book or business launch. The moment you gain such an insight flashes like lightning – and vanishes like lightning. Can you become aware of such moments? And can you replicate them?

12 Keystone Principles That Bolster Resilience

These 12 keystone principles will increase your resilience and help you stay brave in the face of adversity.

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.

Mindfulness: The Power of “Thinking About Your Thinking”

Taking just five minutes a day to “think about your thinking" can dramatically improve your life.

What to Do When Life Is Short

Dual citizenship as a doctor and as a seriously ill patient had taught him that respectful communication is the bedrock of all medicine.

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.

Should We Be Upset By Trevor Noah’s Controversial Tweets?

Trevor Noah is in hot water over a few not-so-hot tweets. The South African comic came under fire after Comedy Central announced he would replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. His offense: tweets that targeted Jews and women. What are your reactions to his posts? (Spoiler alert: fat chicks and Jewish women— be prepared to bristle. Proceed with caution...)

How to Give Unconditional Love to Your Child and to Yourself

Parenting is really, truly, the hardest thing any of us will ever do, because it requires us to grow. So we all need to give ourselves support if we want to parent well. Instead of berating yourself when you make a mistake, resolve to learn from it.

There's No Such Thing As a Photographic Memory

By Temma Ehrenfeld on April 06, 2015 in Open Gently
Although there's no such thing as photographic memories, some children can see a picture in their mind's eye for a few minute.

How to Find a Husband if You Only Have 60 Seconds

Science says it can be done if you put your faith in statistics

Laugh Your Way to a Six Pack (Mentally and Physically)

Why are children so much happier and healthier than adults? Because they laugh about 200 times a day. Understand the real science behind laughter here and realise why you should make laughing a priority.

Good In Bed: Funny Men Give More Orgasms

By Gil Greengross Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in Humor Sapiens
Women with humorous partners experience more and stronger orgasms

10 Essential Humor Lessons

The amusing, creative and witty person in a group is among the most powerful of its members.

Does Everyone Really Love a Joker? (Does Anyone?)

Every school classroom seems to have a class clown—the nightmare of most teachers. However, we know very little about what happens to them when they enter the world of work, home, and community. When they grow up, these “wits” or jokesters can also create havoc to the other adults who inhabit their world.

5 Epic April Fool’s Pranks and the Psychology Behind Them

There are psychological reasons why we fall for April Fool's pranks, and these 5 are among the best.

A Prayer for My Aunt

By Susan Hooper on March 30, 2015 in Detours and Tangents
My mother's younger sister often seemed angry with the world. In her last months, as she battled the physical and mental indignities of old age, I saw a new sweetness of character, along with the iron strength that had sustained her through her life's tribulations.

7 Research-Based Reasons to Laugh Every Chance You Get

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Feeling It
Go on, rent that comedy! Laughter has more benefits than you even know!

7 Secrets of Happy Couples

We all want loving and successful relationships but we don't all know how to achieve them! Research shows that certain ways of being together can create the glue that holds your relationship intact for the long haul. Read about some things you can do right now to make your relationship happier and healthier.