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

"Baldy" Donald Trump

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on February 18, 2018 in Fighting Fear
An account, referencing the bible, of the possible consequences of calling people names.

Ice Cream Shops Can Fight Youth Suicide, Too

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on February 18, 2018 in Nurturing Resilience
We need ways to talk about suicide year round if prevention campaigns are going to work. Corporate partners can help.

R & Deism: An Atheist's Religious Children's Story

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 14, 2018 in Ambigamy
Many people take religion so seriously that it throws their judgment off. Here's a children's story to cultivate serious spiritual play.

The Benefits of Clown Therapy

Recent research suggests that "birthing" your inner clown can be therapeutic.

The Language User's Quick Start Guide

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 12, 2018 in Ambigamy
Humans are the bulls in the China shop of the world. Why? Because we have language. Here's a short video on how to use it wisely.

Can a Manly Man Fix What Needs Fixing, and Laugh, Too?

Would anyone watch if the ad said, “Upper-Middle-Class White Guys Damage Cars to Prove a Point”?

Three Things You Can Do to Make Better Jokes

By Scott Weems Ph.D. on January 26, 2018 in What’s So Funny?
Do you want to win the New Yorker cartoon caption contest? Here's some advice (from someone else who hasn't won).

Profanity Can Be Therapeutic AF

By Dan Mager MSW on January 22, 2018 in Some Assembly Required
Profanity is beneficial beyond adding emphasis and color to our language. Its benefits may surprise you.

Can Humor Make You Sexist?

By Scott Weems Ph.D. on January 19, 2018 in What’s So Funny?
Do you laugh at sexist jokes? That could be a problem, or not.

Homer Simpson as Parent

Humor is very often a sneaky way to engage with cultural and moral issues that would meet with resistance if they were discussed in a more serious way.

Does Getting Older Mean Losing Your Sense of Humor?

By Scott Weems Ph.D. on January 12, 2018 in What’s So Funny?
Getting older doesn't mean losing your sense of humor. So long as you work on it.

A Narcissist Walks Into a Bar

By Anneli Rufus on January 11, 2018 in Stuck
Has a narcissist ever driven you to despair? Sometimes jokes are the best revenge.

Putting the Antic in Anticipation

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Play in Mind
To anticipate being at play is already to be in play.

Can't Take a Joke? Good!

By Dara Greenwood Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Mirror, Mirror
Speaking out against sexist humor matters more than you might think.

Does Jeff Sessions Hate Laughter?

By Scott Weems Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in What’s So Funny?
Could the government hate cannabis because it makes you laugh?

Humorous Communication and Coping In Relationships

By Sean M. Horan Ph.D. on January 03, 2018 in Adventures in Dating
A person's Humor Orientation describes his/her tendency to use humor. This entry describes some ways that this orientation might be productive when facing difficult events.

Political Humor Gone Wrong

By Scott Weems Ph.D. on December 29, 2017 in What’s So Funny?
When the president tells a joke, sometimes it's really not a joke at all. But does he know it?

Wreck the Halls

By Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D. on December 23, 2017 in Social Lights
18 surefire ways to drive your college kids crazy.

#MeToo: Man-Slammed on Facebook

By Eliezer Sobel on December 21, 2017 in The 99th Monkey
Being clueless, I came up with what seemed a brilliant caption.

Song Lyrics Revised For the Older Crowd

For old folks, Paul McCartney’s “I’ve Just Seen a Face” would now be “I’ve Just Seen the Ground,” and the chorus would be “Falling, yes, I’m falling/Hope someone’s calling 9-1-1."

The 12 Office Mishaps of Christmas

By Michael Woodward Ph.D. on December 17, 2017 in Spotting Opportunity
How to avoid spreading a little too much cheer at the office holiday party.

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.
Free Clipart

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.