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

Conversations with Narcissists

By Anneli Rufus on December 14, 2017 in Stuck
Sometimes our only option is to laugh.

A Not Entirely Serious Future History of Neuroscience

By Mark D. Humphries Ph.D. on December 07, 2017 in Neural Processing
The state of things to come in neuroscience. Approximately.
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Humor Psychology: The Funniest Words in the English Language

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Statistical Life
What's the funniest word in American English? Okay, it's 'booty'. But why is that funny? Nobody knows.
Pressmaster / AdobeStock

A Letter from Santa’s Therapist

If you think it’s all sugar plums and gum drops for Santa Claus, think again. According to his therapist, he’s got everything from anxiety to trauma.
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How to Be Miserable During the Holidays

By Randy Paterson Ph.D. on December 02, 2017 in How to be Miserable
Tired of "Holiday Stress Tips"? This year, let's embrace the dark side.

Snakes in the Toilet!

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on December 01, 2017 in Fighting Fear
When Freudian nightmares become real.

Sexual Desire and the Holiday Season

By Alexandra Solomon Ph.D. on November 29, 2017 in Loving Bravely
Most couples experience problems with sexual desire at least some of the time. Here's why the holiday season can exacerbate libido troubles—and what helps.

Six Elements Of Self-Care In Adults With Childhood Trauma

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on November 18, 2017 in ExperiMentations
From childhood to our relationship with ourselves, carrying a negative or empty sense of self makes it learning self-love seem like an impossible bootstrap. Yet it can happen...

Parenting Strategies Are Largely Ineffective

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on November 13, 2017 in Feeling Our Way
5 Ideas: Will parents use them? 1. Childhood is not all preamble.
copyright Sally Evans, rights obtained

Laugh Your Way to Creativity

By David Evans on November 08, 2017 in Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Find out how humor can boost your creativity.

My New F-U Car

Sometimes "practical" decision making can take away from the passion and excitement in your life. How do you know when to just go for it?

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 (Annie-2)

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?