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Performing humor: On the relations between self-presentation styles, gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism

Author(s): Karl-Heinz Renner | Timo Heydasch

Journal: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling
ISSN 2190-0493

Volume: 52;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 171;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: humor | histrionic self-presentation style | gelotophobia | gelotophilia | katagelasticism

This paper investigates relations of self-presentation styles with gelotophobia (fear of being laughed at), gelotophilia (joy of being laughed at) and katagelasticism (joy of laughing at others). It is argued that presentational capabilities are often necessary to effectively perform jokes and funny stories. Furthermore, humor may be used to convey self-images to interaction partners. Results of an online questionnaire study (N = 643) yielded the hypothesized associations between self-presentation styles and humor-related traits. In particular, the histrionic self-presentation style that is characterized by performing explicit As-If-behaviors in everyday interactions showed incremental validity in predicting gelotophilia and katagelasticism over and above gender, age and two other self-presentation styles. The same incremental validity in predicting gelotophobia emerged for the protective self-presentation style that aims at avoiding social disapproval. The acquisitive self-presentation style (guided by the desire to win social approval) only showed a low positive correlation with gelotophilia, was unrelated to katagelasticism and negatively correlated with gelotophobia. The discussion is focused on the possibility to apply the themes of agency and communion to humor-related traits and self-presentation styles and highlights that research on humor and self-presentation may cross-fertilize.
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