Have the class develop a psychology of humor
Besides being intrinsically interesting, the nice thing about humor is that it
allows you to relate theory to hypotheses. For example,
- Piaget's theory can be used to make predictions about developmental
differences in humor.
- The cognitive response theory of persuasion can be used to predict that
humor will increase the persuasiveness of a message if the humor distracts the
audience from thinking about the holes in the message's argument
- Schachter's cognitive labeling theory might explain why students are often
likely to laugh loudly at a remark made a few minutes before an exam is to be
- Opponent process theory might predict that people's moods would not be
improved by exposure to humor
- Social comparison theory can explain why people might look to
others to find out whether something is funny.
- Theories help us understand why people find certain things humorous--and
even help us to categorize humor. For example,
- superiority theory
suggests that we laugh because we feel superior to others.
theory suggests that we laugh when we see events as incongruous.
relief theory says that laughter involves a released of accumulated psychic
Not only does having students generate hypotheses based on humor have the advantage of illustrating the value of theory, but it also is an easy way for students to meet what some of them will consider a daunting challenge--generating their first hypothesis.
Projects may include the relationship between humor and health, humor and
creativity, characteristics of people with a good sense of humor,
characteristics of "class clowns", humor and persuasion, why people have poor
memory for jokes, and a humor test as a disguised test of prejudice.
For more information, the following may be helpful
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