Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Does humor promote cognitive flexibility by way of its affective and cognitive components? A prospective test
by Daman, Stuart J., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2015, 131; 3722909
Abstract (Summary)

Two studies tested hypotheses regarding the idea that humor promotes cognitive flexibility. Two components of humor are argued to promote cognitive flexibility. First, the positive emotion associated with humor may enhance cognitive flexibility. Second, the processing of humor may exercise complex cognitive processing, thus making similar processing more efficient on subsequent tasks. Participants in Experiment 1 read humorous sentences or one of two types of non-humorous sentences. Participants in Experiment 2 viewed captioned images that varied in the presence of positivity and incongruity. Results of both studies do not support the idea that humor promotes cognitive flexibility, nor do they show evidence that humor promotes cognitive flexibility because of the positive emotion or incongruity associated with it. Explanations for the failure to find support for hypotheses focus on the stimuli used in non-humor conditions and the stimuli and method of measuring cognitive flexibility. Alternative methods of testing the hypotheses are also offered, such as investigating sense of humor as a personality trait, using different types of humor and a different method of measuring cognitive flexibility. This project hoped to provide elementary evidence for the notion that humor is beneficial for health, but did not do so. It is hoped that future research can elucidate the relationship between humor and health.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Muraven, Mark
Commitee: Earleywine, Mitchell, Friedman, Ronald S.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology, Experimental psychology
Keywords: Cognitive flexibility, Humor, Incongruity, Mirth
Publication Number: 3722909
ISBN: 9781339053226
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