Well, the individual's mindset affects the ability to perceive and/or
enjoy humor. However, my mood and attitude may affect how I feel about
the Mona Lisa, but it remains a classic piece of art whether I like it
I think we have to be careful to avoid a solipsistic trap, where we
think humor "IS" whatever is or is not perceived as funny by some
observer. It is not that subjective. However, we also have to avoid a
Frankenstein trap, where we think anything that follows the form
A-B-C-D, whether anyone likes it or not! Maybe things are funny if
some critical mass of reasonably people can see why it might strike
someone as funny.
I think your discussion of incongruity theory is 100% correct. There
is an insight there that we must consider (I believe) but that is
nothing close to the whole story. I feel the same way about your
insistence on some sort of pleasure being created within some or most
observers. I think that is completely true.
I have many things to think about over the holidays, and try to
sort-of graph in my mind.
Thanks to all.
Quoting "Roy E. Russell" <[log in to unmask]>:
> Humor Researchers,
> Jim, I understand your point. Even If I am able to demonstrate
> a common structure in a variety of situations such as jokes,
> tickling, peek-a-boo games. and pies-in-the-face, for the other
> 99.5% I would need to show that this same structure does not occur
> in non humorous situations.
> As an example, in the Incongruity Resolution Theory, making
> sense of the incongruous punch line is said to be responsible for
> that nebulous something called humor and its more palpable
> accompaniment, laughter. And indeed, we find that in hundreds of
> jokes we are puzzled by the punch line, but when we "get it" we feel
> amused and often laugh. That is worth 0.5%. Now, can we be sure
> that each time we resolve a similar puzzle, we will be amused? In
> other words, can solving a puzzle be non humorous?
> Even with this 0.5% rating the IR theory is more often quoted
> than criticized for not meeting this discriminant validity criteria.
> Perhaps, it makes up some of the other 99.5% through familiarity or
> These discussions remind us that humor/laughter is a multi
> faceted problem. A seldom mentioned facet is the individuals' mood
> or mind set which can tip the balance between humor and not humor.
JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
139 E HIGH ST APT 9
POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
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