People think immoral behavior is funny - but only if it does not pose any harm


What could make the situation funny? Philosophers have tried to answer this question since the time of Plato. In our time, two scientists in the field of psychology believe they have found the formula: humor arises from the creation of a situation in which are threatened or violated lifestyles of our world, but at the same time, there is no evil.

The ancient theory of humor are differences anyway, according to Peter McGraw (A. Peter McGraw) from the University of Colorado-Boulder, which is a co-author of the analysis Caleb Warren. Freud believed that the humor came from the discharge of tension, another theory implies that the humor comes from a sense of superiority, and the third - from non-compliance. The researchers, however, point out that all of this could happen if you accidentally killed your spouse would, but it would not be funny. They decided that the situation might be funny only if it bears good.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers presented various game situations to volunteers, which they awarded candy. In one experiment, volunteers read a couple of situations where for example in Jimmy Dean hired a rabbi as a representative of their new line of pork products, and in the other, where Jimmy Dean hired a farmer as a representative of a new line of the same products. The situation, which carries the moral violation is that it appears as a rabbi promoter pork, more like the readers and provoked them laugh.

In another part of the analysis was investigated, will make a good performance in violation of the moral situation more amusing. In the experiment, in one case, the participants read a scenario in which both the church and the credit institution played a lottery drawing, so the visitors. Participants experienced disgust at the idea that the church lured visitors using lottery. When it came to the credit institution, the participants reacted normally. But it’s worth noting that the reaction of the participants in this experiment depended in part on whether they were parishioners of the church, for those who are not such a scenario seemed more ridiculous. The researchers suggest that the fact that the inhabitants of the church "is not particularly perform obligations to the holiness of the Church", which is why for them, the moral violation seems harmless. This experiment confirmed that people who are more psychologically distant from the awareness of moral violations will be easier to laugh. The research is published in Psychological Science, the journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"We laugh when Moe attacks Larry (show" Three Gaby "), because we know that Larry did not really hurt," - said McGraw, referring to the funny farce. "This is - a violation of social norms. You do not attack people, especially friends. But, nevertheless, it’s okay because it’s not real." He cited the example of a recent video smoking Indonesian toddler. "When I was first told about this, I laughed, because it seems unreal how parents can allow children to smoke cigarettes? The fact that the situation seemed unbelievable made it harmless. Later, when I watched this video smoking a child personally, it was not funny . " McGraw believes that the theory works for other areas of humor, like puns that violate linguistic matching or rule, but follow other rules, thus preserving the meaning of sentences. This also explains why dramas and thrillers are more in the audiences in foreign countries than comedy. "It’s hard to find to be a comedy, which will be fun for all crops, as violations of the principles that carry the good may be different from those of other cultures. comedy, which will be funny to all cultures should include a lot of physical humor. violations of generally accepted standards clear to all, regardless of who you are. "

Original: Eurekalert Translation: M. Potter

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