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

Is Joy Communal?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 18, 2016 in The Human Beast
The epidemic of depression that emerged with urbanization in the US is often attributed to loneliness in large cities. Perhaps it is also due to less opportunities to express joy.

What Can We Do to Decrease Our Risk for Cancer?

The idea that cancer is fate and we are simple victims, is at best a half-truth.

The Most Embarrassing Moments When You're Big

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 06, 2016 in Open Gently
Laughing at the embarrassing moments of obesity can help.

When Food is Love

For my mother, cooking was never a service; it was the deepest, purest act of love.

3 Not-So-Obvious Things Women Find Attractive in Men

By Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. on April 25, 2016 in Head Games
For women, attraction is hardly about good looks and money.

"I Can't Give You a Brain, But I Can Give You a Diploma"

Some projects — like acquiring a genuine education — are not best if you DIY. Sometimes you need a professional. Sometimes you need a professor.

Can Psychology Explain Humor?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on April 12, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
Humor is a pervasive part of human experience. If you watch people in social groups, they spend a lot of time laughing. But, what makes particular events funny?

How to Win a Turing Tournament

Both a computer's mentalistic deficits and mechanistic over-compensations could be masked in a Turing test by having it masquerade as a savant like the late Kim Peek.

Why We Laugh at Others on April Fool's Day

By Paul Dolan Ph.D. on April 01, 2016 in Happiness by Design
Why does laughing at the expense of others bring us so much pleasure and what does it say about our human nature? Here are some key explanations.

Aiming to Please (the Janitor): a Field Experiment

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on April 01, 2016 in Consumed
New insights on scoring in the men's room

Why Do Funnier Comedians Die Sooner?

Those identified as funnier were more than three times more likely to die prematurely when compared to more serious comedy personalities.

Republican and Democrats on the Same Page

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on March 29, 2016 in Fighting Fear
It shows you that if you try hard enough, you can Democrats and Republicans to agree on something: guns at the Republican convention.

We Thought You’d Never Ask: Autism and Self-Advocacy

Assumptions of mental retardation limit opportunities for autistic people to express their intelligence.

On Being Foolish

By Bernard L. De Koven on March 11, 2016 in On Having Fun
Could fun be a spiritual path? Could it be yours?

The Role of the Penis in Republican Politics

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on March 06, 2016 in Fighting Fear
Is there a hidden agenda in the back and forth between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio about genital matters? Does the talk about Donald's penis imply anything about Hillary Clinton?

Read This Now: A Fun Look at Procrastination

Why not take a lighthearted look at procrastination: why we do it and how to deal with it? There are probably some helpful hints in here, but it's all said in fun.

Can Justice Scalia Still Vote?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on February 28, 2016 in Fighting Fear
Should Justice Scalia's work on the cases now before the court count as an actual vote--despite his being dead? An examination of how his views may have changed since dying,

To Be Funny or Not to Be Funny--That is the Question

By Madeleine A Fugère Ph.D. on February 22, 2016 in Dating and Mating
A good sense of humor is considered one of the most important traits in a potential mate by both men and women, but should you use humor if you're trying to attract a partner?

6 Tips to Negotiate a Speaking Contract

By Judy Carter on February 02, 2016 in Stress Is a Laughing Matter
Speaking is a great way to earn some extra money AND get new clients. Here are 6 questions to need to ask when negotiating a speaking contract so you don't blow it.

What Do Your Favorite Posters and T-Shirts Say About You?

Sure, I once wore messages on T-shirts. But after a certain age, I no longer wanted folks to read my bust-line in order to grasp my perspective on cultural and political issues.

An Explanation for Trump's Appeal

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on January 29, 2016 in Fighting Fear
An examination of those aspects of personality and behavior that have led to Donald Trump's success. A comparison to an incident long ago that also had political implications.

No More Sex Until...

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on January 27, 2016 in Fighting Fear
A common, although largely ignored, problem for some couples is how to have sex with the children still awake. I offer a solution.

Getting Rid of Death and Taxes

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on January 22, 2016 in Fighting Fear
A solution to "Making America Great Again," should not only include lowering taxes. Defeating death with bring considerable economic advantages.

Healthy, Relaxing Things to Do on a Snow Day

By Linda Wasmer Andrews on January 22, 2016 in Minding the Body
You could spend your snow day doing laundry … but don’t. Here are eight more relaxing, satisfying ways to ride out a snowstorm.

Being Anti-Racist, Not Non-Racist

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on January 20, 2016 in Without Prejudice
Some people are content to be non-racist. But is that enough? What about the importance of directly opposing prejudices you observe in others?

How to Have The Best Birthday Ever: Celebrate Your REAL Age

Birthdays as a reward for having shown up 365 days in a row. It's like getting a badge for attendance.

Puddle Week Viral Videos

By Siu-Lan Tan Ph.D. on January 08, 2016 in What Shapes Film?
It's "PUDDLE week" in the world of viral videos... just in time to brighten up our first week back after the holidays!

7 Trusted Tips for Finding Love

Check out these basic prerequisites for finding love.

Inter-generational Games Night

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 02, 2016 in Moral Landscapes
Just imagine playing board games, cards, and hanging out with seniors, neighbors, children, preteens, teens, and other adults. This scene is something that can happen anywhere in A