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Perception of aggressive humor in relation to gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism

Author(s): Andrea C. Samson | Yonni Meyer

Journal: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling
ISSN 2190-0493

Volume: 52;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 217;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: gelotophilia | gelotophobia | katagelasticism | humor | cartoon | aggression

The present study investigates humor appreciation of aggressive cartoons in relation to gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism. These traits were described to have a peculiar relation to laughter-related phenomena, in particular to disparagement humor. 185 participants rated highly aggressive and non-aggressive humorous stimuli for funniness and aversiveness and their scores on the gelotophobia, gelotophilia and katagelasticism scales were measured. The cartoons were controlled for their structural basis, i.e., incongruity-resolution and nonsense humor, as these two types of humor strongly influence the appreciation of humorous stimuli. The results revealed that high scores on gelotophobia lead to higher aversion to aggressive humor, whereas high scores on katagelasticism lead to more enjoyment of aggressive humor with less aversion. Gelotophobia and katagelasticism lead to sensitivity to aggression in humor, which fits the overt behavior of reacting sensitively towards laughter (gelotophobia) and enjoying to laugh at others (katagelasticism). Gelotophilia did not predict reactions to either aggressive or non-aggressive humor but did predict more amusement in general: High scorers on gelotophilia seem to be relaxed towards any form of humor, even if it has an aggressive note. This study confirms the three dimensions to have peculiar responses to aggressive types of humor and opens up several questions to be explored in future research.
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