February 1, 2000

The Rain Barrel Extremely Digestible Bibliography
today's subject:

Wit and humour

TITLE: The case of the falling man: Bergson and chaos theory
AUTHOR(S): Gantar,-Jure
SOURCE: Mosaic (Winnipeg, Man) v 32 no2 June 1999. p. 43-57
ABSTRACT: The writer reads Henri Bergson's essay Le Rire as a possible precursor of chaos theory, drawing parallels between Bergson's theory of laughter and the discourse of nonlinear dynamics.  He notes that Bergson's philosophy understands laughter as a human response to any encroachment on the creative powers of the life force; the central idea of laughter that Bergson posits in this text can be seen as a direct reflection of his attitude toward the mechanicist view of the world.  He traces the general similarities between Bergson's understanding of life and the essential postulates of chaos theory. He examines definitions of order and chaos and shows how they are related to Bergson's classification of three fundamental mechanisms for producing laughter. He also provides a possible explanation of the distinction that Bergson makes between two different types of laughter.
DESCRIPTORS: Bergson,-Henri,-1859-1941-Works-Le-rire;
Chaotic-behavior-in-systems; Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects;

TITLE: The pleasures of stupidity: Gary Larson as a Baudelairean caricaturist
AUTHOR(S): Carrier,-David
SOURCE: Nineteenth/Century French Studies v 27 no1/2 Fall 1998/Winter 1999. p. 62-70
ABSTRACT: Applying Charles Baudelaire's theory of caricature to Gary Larson's cartoons, the writer argues that Larson's images express an aggressive pleasure that involves enjoyment of human stupidity.  He contends that viewers laugh because they recognize that they could not be as foolish as Larson's characters and, by laughing, acknowledge their superiority to his silly figures.  He explains that according to Baudelaire, our pleasure in such caricatures reveals our fallen natures.  He adds that our shared pleasure in Larson's art shows us ways in which in current postmodern culture ideals of progress have come to be widely questioned.
DESCRIPTORS: Baudelaire,-Charles,-1821-1867; Larson,-Gary; Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects; Caricatures-and-cartoons

TITLE: Creating situations: practical jokes and the revival of the dead in Irish tradition
AUTHOR(S): Harlow,-Ilana
SOURCE: Journal of American Folklore v 110 Spring 1997. p. 140-68
ABSTRACT: This essay considers practical jokes involving the animation of corpses at old-time wakes in Ireland.  The seeming revival of the dead enacted in these practical jokes parodies the familiar folkloric theme of the revival of the seemingly dead.  Practical jokes fit into the format of the wake and were ways of integrating the corpse into the social scene.  Further, these practical jokes typify a cultural tendency toward provocative ludic behavior.
DESCRIPTORS: Wake-services; Practical-jokes; Death-Psychological-aspects;
Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects; Ireland-Social-life-and-customs

TITLE: Palestinian humor during the Gulf War
AUTHOR(S): Kanaana,-Sharif
SOURCE: Journal of Folklore Research v 32 Jan/Apr 1995. p. 65-75
ABSTRACT: A discussion of Palestinian humor about the Gulf War.  A selection of jokes that reveals Palestinian political views on the Gulf crisis is presented. All of the jokes are directed against the Allies, and none manifests any aggression, hostility, or ridicule toward Iraq or any of the countries sympathetic to the Iraqi cause.  The Palestinian position apparently springs from the belief that "one's enemy's enemy is one's friend."  Four different clusters of jokes, each resulting from a different phase of the crisis, are examined:  a phase of optimism following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, a phase of apprehension when Palestinians realized that the West would contest the occupation, a phase of anger and frustration when it was clear Iraq would lose, and a phase of resignation after the end of the war.
DESCRIPTORS: Persian-Gulf-War-1991-Psychological-aspects;
Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects; Palestinian-Arab-wit-and-humor

TITLE: "Tricks and fun": subversive pleasures at Newfoundland wakes
AUTHOR(S): Narvaez,-Peter
SOURCE: Western Folklore v 53 Oct 1994. p. 263-93
ABSTRACT: A discussion of Newfoundland wake amusements.  Many testimonies indicate that Newfoundland wakes have often been characterized by disorder, ridicule, and laughter.  Contrary to the interpretations of Irish scholars, placating the dead was not a predominant manifest function of social interactions, nor are there any manifest indications that participation in wake amusements in Newfoundland was part of a struggle to maintain ancient popular religious practices in face of the hegemony of official religion.  Instead, the popularity of the traditional house wake was significantly sustained by pleasure, and the "tricks and fun" at Newfoundland wakes may be regarded as part of a traditional struggle between those adhering to traditional customs of pleasure and the hegemony of official religion.
DESCRIPTORS: Wake-services; Practical-jokes; Death-Psychological-aspects;
Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects; Newfoundland-Social-life-and-customs

TITLE: No laughing matter: eight scholars in search of a joke
AUTHOR(S): Berger,-Arthur-Asa, 1933-
SOURCE: Etc v 51 Spring 1994. p. 29-35
ABSTRACT: The writer analyzes a joke from the perspective of a rhetorician, a semiotician, a communications theorist, a psychologist and psychoanalyst, a sociologist, a philosopher, a political scientist, and a feminist.  He contends that each way of analyzing a joke is tied to the perspective of the person making the analysis.
DESCRIPTORS: Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects

TITLE: Lateralization in appreciation of humor: sex differences vs stimulus effects
AUTHOR(S): Gallivan,-Joanne
SOURCE: Perceptual and Motor Skills v 85 Oct 1997. p. 528-30
ABSTRACT: The finding that women rate funnier humorous items with left-ear input, while men give higher ratings with right-ear input has been cited as evidence for a biological basis for sex differences in appreciation of humor. However, in 1991 Gallivan did not find this effect and suggested that the earlier finding could have been due to the use of 'male-oriented  stimuli.  In this study, 72 subjects rated the funniness of 32 'female-oriented  comedy excerpts, presented monaurally.  Women gave higher ratings with right-ear input but men's ratings were not affected by ear of presentation.  These findings represent another failure to replicate the earlier-reported hemispheric effect and support the conclusion that it may have been due to the stimuli used. 
DESCRIPTORS: Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects; Sex-differences-Psychology; Laterality-

TITLE: The effect of Groucho Marx glasses on depression . . . and other benefits of humor in psychology
AUTHOR(S): Pritzker,-Steven-R
SOURCE: Psychology Today v 32 no5 Sept/Oct 1999. p. 88
ABSTRACT: The writer reflects on the benefits of humor in psychology.
DESCRIPTORS: Clinical-psychology-as-a-profession; Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects

TITLE: Telling jokes that disparage social groups: effects on the joke teller's stereotypes
AUTHOR(S): Maio,-Gregory-R; Olson,-James-M; Bush,-Jacqueline-E
SOURCE: Journal of Applied Social Psychology v 27 Nov 16 1997. p. 1986-2000
ABSTRACT: An experiment tested whether or not reciting disparaging humor about a disadvantaged group affects joke tellers' stereotypes of the group. In this experiment, we manipulated whether participants recited humor that disparaged Newfoundlanders, who are a relatively disadvantaged group in Canada, or nondisparaging humor.  We then asked participants to complete a measure of their stereotypes and attitudes toward Newfoundlanders.  Results indicated that participants who recited disparaging humor subsequently reported more negative stereotypes of Newfoundlanders than did participants who recited nondisparaging humor.  Attitudes toward Newfoundlanders were not affected by the manipulation. Practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
DESCRIPTORS: Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects; Stereotype-Psychology

TITLE: Effects of humor on test anxiety and performance
AUTHOR(S): Perlini,-Arthur-H; Nenonen,-Roger-G; Lind,-David-L
SOURCE: Psychological Reports v 84 no3 June 1999 pt2. p. 1203-13
ABSTRACT: The present study evaluated the moderating effects of humor in test items on the hypothesized relationship between test anxiety and performance. Subjects initially completed anxiety scales, as well as coping-humor and sense-of-humor scales.  34 women and 26 men received achievement tests under one of three test conditions:  (1) nonhumorous, (2) low-humor (15% of test items), or (3) moderate humor (30% of test items).  These test versions were administered under both low, i.e., short quiz, and high, i.e., examination, outcome-value conditions.  Humor frequency did not improve the test performance of highly test-anxious subjects under either outcome-value condition.  Together with other previous disconfirmatory findings, the present results suggest that the hypothesized moderating role of item humor in the anxiety-performance relationship may be overstated. Ancillary analyses suggest that individual differences in the use of humor as a coping strategy predict examination scores. 
DESCRIPTORS: Test-anxiety; Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects;
Adaptability-Psychology; Performance-level

TITLE: Managing to amuse
SOURCE: Psychology Today v 30 Mar/Apr 1997. p. 16
ABSTRACT: Women executives who use humor in the office are viewed by their
subordinates as more capable than their less jocular counterparts, according to a recent survey.  Women in positions of authority, particularly those in
male-dominated fields, have been reluctant to reveal their humorous sides,
fearing it might undermine their efforts to be taken seriously.  According to Wayne Decker, Ph.D., a professor of management at Maryland's Salisbury State University, however, women bosses who use nonoffensive humor were judged more effective at getting things done and more concerned about their staff's well-being than their less comical counterparts.
DESCRIPTORS: Women-executives; Wit-and-humor-Psychological-aspects

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