Humor is something observed at different ages and different cultures. However, it was in the last several decades that experimental psychology had respected humor as the fundamental and essential human behavior.
There is no point attempting to be constantly solemn for the sake of solemnity. Even in your worst moments, or difficult and trying ones, believe us that if something around you is really funny, you are going to laugh. You can use this opportunity to always escape from different situations, at least for several seconds, welcoming the release.
From a historical point of view, psychologists always framed humor as something negative, suggesting that it demonstrates vulgarity, superiority, and so on, in order to hide the true feelings of a person. From this view, it was said that people utilized humor in order to disparage and demean other people or to also inflate the self-worth of an individual. Because of that, it was said that it is an undesirable and inappropriate behavior which should be avoided. Psychologists also tend to ignore such behaviors.
However, some researches on humor came on the surface, and according to them, humor was seen as the strength of a character. Positive psychology, which is the field which examines the actions of people, noted that humor might be utilized in order to make other people feel good, gain intimacy and help in the fight of stress. Together with hope, spirituality, and gratitude, the humor belongs to a group of strengths which positive psychologists called transcendence; combined, they help people in forging connections to this world, and even providing the meaning of their lives. The humor appreciation correlates with some other strengths such as love of learning and wisdom. The humor exercises or activates result in enhanced feelings of optimism and well-being.
As a result of all of the reasons from above, humor was welcomed in the mainstream experimental psychology, being the desirable skill or behavior which researchers would like to understand better.
Laughter is the important healing force.
It allows us to forget ourselves and connect with the individual with whom we laugh. We have all witnessed friends that, when experiencing a hard time, tend to stop themselves from laughing at something. We tend to halt our laughter as it does not seem appropriate or right, just like we feel guilty when we let it go.
We have to remember that laughter will always be appropriate and right, as long as we don’t do it at the expense of a person. In our darkest hours, when we find something really funny, we should permit ourselves to laugh. A lot of studies proved that humor and laughter have a lot of benefits, which include strengthening our immunity, reducing stress and pain, and increasing our energy.
When we go through difficult times or experiences, or we feel down, humor can find us all of a sudden.
We should not wait but embrace it. If we do not meet with it by any change, we should find a way in which we can lose ourselves in an appropriate laughter. We can, for example, watch a movie which never fails in making us smile, or speak to our humorous friend, and even ready funny books. It will not be wrong if we laugh when something is hard in our lives; contrary to this, it is going to help us a lot.
Creating and understanding humor requires a set of mental processes and operations. According to cognitive psychologists, there are the theory of humor is in three stages. In order to be in on the joke, we have to have the ability to:
- Mentally represent the joke’s set up;
- Detect the incongruity in the multiple interpretations of the joke;
- Resolve incongruity with the inhabiting of the literal and non-funny interpretations, or appreciating the meaning of the funny joke.
Funny is said to be the subjective experience which comes from the resolution of two or more incongruous schemes.
For example, in the verbal jokes, schema number two is usually activated at the end, in a punchline.
However, there will be times when we will not get the joke, and the two main reasons for that are the following: First, this punchline has to create a distinct mental representation which will conflict with one of the joke’s set up; laugh and timing tricks help signal the one that listens that there is another different punchline representation possible. Second, you have to have the ability to inhibit this initial mental representation.
According to a study, those people that utilize humor in a positive way, have positive perspectives of past time, while those that use self-defeating humor have some negative perspective of past time. This study leads us to understand our way of thinking about and interpreting social interactions. Such researches even suggest that the attempts of using humor in positive ways will improve the details in the thoughts of people and in that way their moods too. For instance, clinical psychologists utilize humor as the treatment for increasing subjective well-being.
Although we may disagree about what is funny and what is not, there is more consensus than before among the experiments of psychologists, saying that humor is something relevant and serious to behavioral science. And, that is not a matter of laughing.