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ERIC Number: ED080184
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Children's Appreciation of Humor: A Test of the Cognitive-Congruency Principle.
McGhee, Paul E.
According to the cognitive-congruency principle, humor appreciation peaks when the cognitive demands of the stimulus are congruent with the cognitive level of the child. This study tested the principle with jokes based on concepts associated with concrete operational thinking, conservation of mass and weight. This method provides a satisfactory basis for operationally defining amount of challenge to cognitive structures, a means of developing humor stimuli that sample a single measurable concept, and a means of determining whether emotionally salient content is necessary to demonstrate the operation of the cognitive-congruency principle. Ss were 96 white females at four age levels: 16 nonconservors and 16 conservors of mass in grade 1, 16 nonconservors and 16 conservors of weight in grade 2, 16 sixth graders, and 16 first-year graduate students. Ss rated each joke on a five-point funniness scale and were observed for spontaneous smiling and laughing. Support for the cognitive-congruency principle was obtained for funniness ratings but not for smile-laugh ratings. For conservation of mass jokes, a peak in funniness was reached among second graders who were nonconservers of weight but conservers of mass. For conservation of weight jokes, the peak occurred among first-grade conservers of mass. [Filmed form best available copy.] (KM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 29 - April 1, 1973)