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

The Door in Trump's Wall

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on October 02, 2015 Fighting Fear
Mr. Trump has suggested a literal wall separating Mexico from Texas. He went on to suggest a "beautiful door" in the wall. An examination of that suggestion.

Yogi Berra’s Mis-Quotes: Why They’re So Comically Endearing

On the advent of Yogi Berras’ passing this week at the age of 90, it seemed fitting for me to pay tribute to him here. But not so much for his being a sterling Hall of Fame catcher who helped lead his beloved Yankees to ten World Series victories, as for his wacky but so “winning” malapropisms—which over the years have delighted millions. . . .

What I Learned from Baseball and Yogi Berra

By Rita Watson MPH on September 23, 2015 With Love and Gratitude
Despite his 14 year feud with George Steinbrenner, Yogi Berra is remembered as a man who embraced friendship and compassion for his teammates.

What Does It Mean When We Stick Our Tongues Out?

Questions relating to sticking out one's tongue can be surprisingly complicated. For its meaning in babies and children may be quite different from adults doing the same thing. And there are so many nuances to it: Is the tongue sticking straight out? to the left? right? hanging down? curled? And what’s the accompanying facial expression and context in which it occurs? ...

Do You Lie About Your Age?

When I was a teenager I wanted to be thought of as older. Older girls seemed sophisticated, hip, and independent. Now that I am ACTUALLY older, it’s younger women who seem sophisticated, hip, and independent. Go figure.

The Right to Bear Arms in the Operating Room

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on September 21, 2015 Fighting Fear
The right to bear arms is being asserted in more and more places--churches, schools, etc. There are problems, however, in bearing arms in the operating room. The reasons are given here

Are You a Man or a Mouse?

“Are you a man or a mouse?” This exhortation has been a way that men have encouraged other men, especially younger ones, to be brave, not to run away but rather to take things up to the next level. However, considering what has happened to men these days, I think the expression can be considered in a whole new way. Especially because mice are really pretty brave.

The Psychology Of Why Being Funny When Flirting is Vital

Bale, Morrison and Caryl in their study of chat-up lines wondered why men persisted in using so many ‘chat-up’ approaches that were rated as unpopular with so many women – such as boorish jokes, empty compliments, and sexually loaded remarks. They wondered if these strategies were never intended to impress a woman, but merely winnow out which possible ‘targets’ were...

Good, Better and Best Advice for Life After 50

When you tell yourself that your best days are behind are, you pretty much guarantee that they are. Stop worrying about what will happen in ten years because life in ten years won’t be anything like what you’re imaging now.

Are Dogs or Cats More Likely to Make Us Laugh?

People who own pets laugh more frequently than people who do not, but dog owners and those who own cats and dogs, laugh more than those who just own cats. And it is when our pet fails at something or does something unexpected that we are most likely to laugh.

Mean vs. Kind Humor

By Rebecca Coffey on September 08, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Are “affiliative” and “self-enhancing” forms of humor healthier than “aggressive” and “self-defeating” forms?

Your Over-Parenting Can Damage Your Child's Education

Teachers have gone from mentoring students to monitoring students. They're urged to report accounts of unblemished success to the parents. That's not an education.

Yesterday, I Beat a Six Year-Old

I had the bright idea of racing my six year old neice to prove that I was immortal....I'm not

Dear Beach-Going Friends...

Will someone think the patterns on my bathing suit secretly spell out the phrase “Do not resuscitate”?

Humor, Screens & Children

By Jamie Krenn Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 Screen Time
A sense of humor can lend itself as a protective factor for troubled or uncertain situations one may have through life’s journey. Included in this piece are some ways to think about humor development as applied to current children’s television programming from birth to elementary school years.

Do You Prefer You Pets to Your Friends?

Pets are like a combination between court jesters and strict Freudian therapists: They can make you feel better about the world while never saying a word.

Workplace Humor That Won't Get You Fired

Want to get laughs without getting fired? Here are six rules for telling jokes that are SFW- Safe For Work!

Your Lower Strengths Matter (Thanks Jim Gaffigan!)

Humor is my lowest character strength. Yet, it is of great value. Here's why: New research by Rene Proyer and colleagues shows that expressing either our highest character strengths OR our lowest strengths can be associated with higher levels of happiness. This supports one of the VIA Institute’s core teachings: All 24 character strengths matter.

Laughing Matters During Presidential Primary Debates

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on August 05, 2015 Caveman Politics
How will we, the American Public, evaluate the candidates in the Republican presidential debates?

Making the World More Fun

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 05, 2015 On Having Fun
And even if it’s not singing and dancing and parading but playing some silly game, what you’re doing, along with whatever you’re doing for each other, is honestly and really making the whole world just a little more fun.

Nothing Says "Old Dude" Like Getting a Motorcycle

What is it with old dudes and motorcycles? Is it a last defiant statement that the real man hiding inside looks more like Steve McQueen in "The Great Escape" than Kevin James in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop?" Or is it the simple joy of having something powerful throbbing between your legs once again?

6 Ways to Get What You Want (Without Being Called a Whiner)

We tend to associate whining with the behavior of toddlers, but there are plenty of adults who could equal the whininess of any two-year-old. These 6 tips will help you turn your complaints into effective strategies to get others to gladly give you what you want.

This Proves That Men Are Visual Creatures

By Donna Barstow on June 29, 2015 Ink Blots Cartoons
Some men are wonderful conversationalists, but others don't say much at all, and prefer to let their eyes do the talking.

Ladies and Gentlemen

While these days I don’t think we’re hearing “lady” (and “ladies”) as much as “gentleman” (and “gentlemen”), when we do hear “lady,” it still carries an aura of goodness. But this association with goodness seems to be much more the case for lady than for gentleman. “Gentleman” is still widely used simply as a synonym for “man," sometimes even the perpetrator of a crime.

This May Be the Secret to Happiness in Relationships

You may think the best way to deepen your relationship is to have serious, deep discussions about your thoughts and feelings. However, it may be that sharing a smile rather than deep feelings can be as good, if not better, for your relationship’s long-term health.

Finding the Humor in Sadness (and Monsters)

By Mark Peters on June 11, 2015 Laughing Stock
Frank Lesser discusses comedy and his book Sad Monsters.

Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

"Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder", made more scientific by the abstinence-desire index (the ADI)

Aerobic Laughing: A New Weight Loss Plan

Just like all of us, I've been captivated by Caitlyn Jenner's courageous transformation. She inspired me to take a look at my own body and finally find a way to become the skinny person I've always wanted to be—via laughter.

Should I Quit?

Science says, "You should quit your job."

Thinking about Death and Pain Makes People Funnier

Death anxiety may promotes humor creativity