ERIC Number: ED223118
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
The Effect of Humor on Retention of Lecture Material.
Desberg, Peter; And Others
The effect of humor on retention of lecture material was studied with 100 undergraduate students at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Within each class, students were divided into four equal groups, and four versions of a lecture on language development were presented on videotape by a college faculty member. The lectures were identical in content and varied only in type of humor: (1) humor related directly to items in the learning test; (2) humor unrelated to the items being tested; (3) no humor; and (4) a repetition of the concept that preceded the related joke (repetition control condition). Both the related and unrelated jokes were inserted in identical places within the lecture content. A joke was considered related if it was associated with, or served as, a mnemonic device for the concept to be learned and recalled. Information learned or recalled from the lectures and data regarding each subject's attitude toward the lecture and the speaker were assessed, along with ratings of the level of humor in the 10 jokes from the related humor lecture. The related humor lecture facilitated retention of information significantly more than both the unrelated humor and the nonrepetition control lectures. The nonrepetition control and the unrelated humor conditions were recalled equally well. That is, repetition, whether or not through the use of humor, enhanced recall. Furthermore, subjects found the humorous presentation more enjoyable. It is concluded that in cases of rote learning, related jokes contribute by both repeating the concept and making the learning process more enjoyable. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (Montreal, Canada, September 1-5, 1981). Not available in paper copy due to marginal legibility of original document.