The sense of humor : explorations of a personality by Ruch, W.

By Ruch, W.

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This volume). In summary, research derived from incongruity theory focuses on the cognitive aspects of sense of humor, and particularly the creative thought processes that are involved in humor production and comprehension. In addition, incongruity theory gives rise to conceptualizations of sense of humor that emphasize differences in cognitive styles. A considerable amount of research has found support for a close relationship between the ability to create humor and creative abilities more generally.

The results indicated that, among 7th graders, humor production and peer ratings of humor were not correlated with creativity, but were negatively correlated with self-esteem, indicating that children with lower self-esteem were more likely to do and say things that would make others laugh. In contrast, among 11th graders, humor production was positively correlated with the test of creativity, particularly originality and elaboration, but not with self-esteem. These authors concluded that "being funny may be a sign of creativity in a well-functioning and self-assured person; being funny may be a sign of acting out in a not so well-functioning or not so self-assured person" (Fabrizi & Pollio 1987a: 760).

In summary, the superiority/disparagement approach leads to a focus on the ways in which negative or hostile attitudes are expressed through humor. Researchers taking this approach have varied in the degree to which they consider all humor to convey feelings of superiority or disparagement, or only a subset of humor. Although strict adherence to the theory would seem to suggest that enjoyment of humor generally should be associated with aggressive or dominant personality traits, most research has focused only on enjoyment of certain types of humor (disparagement humor).

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