ERIC Number: ED411490
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Aug-16
Reference Count: N/A
Humor, Emotional Empathy, Creativity and Cognitive Dissonance.
Forsyth, G. Alfred; Altermatt, Ellen R.; Forsyth, Peggy D.
The devaluation of racial, ethnic, or religious groups, sometimes disguised as humor, is a major contributor to violence and aggression against these groups. In an effort to understand this process, five factors of humor: negative ethnic stereotype jokes, play-on-word jokes, academic/social referent cartoons, gender/establishment jokes, and gross cartoons, are examined in this paper. Responses to a broad sampling of jokes and cartoons were obtained so as to identify these factors. The factors were related to humor theories and to the roles of emotional sensitivity and cognitive abilities as part of a program of research to determine who will find different humor materials amusing and to discover what contexts affect the humorousness of jokes and cartoons. It is hypothesized that responses to specific types of humor may provide a window to negative beliefs and feelings about ethnic groups. It was found that emotional empathy was negatively correlated only with the humorousness of negative ethnic stereotype jokes. Added laughter amplified this negative correlation. Cognitive dissonance theory instruction reduced humor ratings on negative stereotype jokes but not other humor factors. It is concluded that the presence of ethnic jokes indicates a need for increased emotional empathy and greater bicultural competence. (RJM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A