The Effect of Expectation and Intention on the Appreciation of Absurd Humour
Quinlan, Joshua Augustus
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Violations to our sense of meaning have traditionally been thought of as a source of anxiety and threat. However, meaning violations can also be a source of humour, as is evidenced by their abundant use within comedy in the form of absurd humour. The present study investigated this apparent paradox by examining the effects of expecting absurdity and perceiving an intention to be funny on humour ratings of absurd jokes. The roles of various individual differences were also investigated. Results indicated that expecting absurdity increased funniness of the first absurd joke encountered. Perceived intention to be funny did not affect funniness ratings. When controlling for individual differences, there was also a significant interaction between Expectation and Intention, although the direction of this effect differed depending on which individual difference was controlled.