ERIC Number: ED258194
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Psychology of Humor and Children's Funny Books: Where Do They Meet?
Beckman, Aileen K.
To perceive the incongruous in fiction, children must have internalized the events of the everyday world. Then they can appreciate the kind of joke "frame" (or pattern) that exists in literature. Elements of humor were tested in a study of eight and nine year old children in England and the United States--22 in each country. Selections from eight books were read orally to each of eight groups, with each selection being an entire episode. The children were given a synopsis of each narrative in order to acquaint them with the main theme of the story. After each selection was read, the children were asked, "What, if anything, did you find funny in that story?" Results of the taped responses indicated that the incongruous appearance, actions, and discourse of characters evoked more humorous responses than books focusing primarily on either situational or language humor. In the two stories that rely on character humor, the main characters were animals familiar from funny books. The frame is thus familiar, unlike situational humor where each narrative centers its story around a different theme. The more explicit the situational frame the more readily it was identified as humorous by the children. The group as a whole also contributed to the recognition of the humorous frame. (EL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Keystone State Reading Association (17th, Hershey, PA, November 11-14, 1984).