Humor is good for you—if you do it right

Humor can improve our lives, but the details matter.

Humor isn’t always useful or beneficial for reaching our goals, new research suggests.

The research breaks people’s goals into three broad categories:

  • hedonic goals (maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain),
  • utilitarian goals (optimizing long-term well-being),
  • and social goals (getting along with others).

While humor appreciation can help make bad experiences better and help us bond with new friends, laughter and amusement do not always improve utilitarian outcomes, such as decision-making or health. For example, laughing tends to make people more creative—but also more careless.

Similarly, watching a funny movie may help someone recover from emotional ailments, such as depression or an anxiety disorder, but there is little evidence that humor will help with physical illness.

One notable conclusion from the paper is that the effects of making others laugh depend on the type of joke, as well as whether or not the joke actually cracks them up. Teasing and telling insulting jokes are less likely to help people cope with loss or navigate an awkward social interaction than joking about about milder topics.

The researchers report their findings in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Additional coauthors are from the University of Melbourne and the University of Colorado.

Source: Amy Schmitz for University of Arizona

The post Humor is good for you—if you do it right appeared first on Futurity.

Plus de Futurity

Futurity2 min de lectureScience
Rewards Improve Visual Learning, But Only After Sleep
Rewards improve performance on a visual perceptual task only if participants sleep after training, according to a new study. The new findings may have particular implications for students tempted to sacrifice sleep in favor of late-night study sessio
Futurity3 min de lectureSociety
Active Babies May Have Lower Obesity Risk Later
Less active babies may accumulate more fat, which in turn may put them at risk for obesity later in life, a new study shows. Researchers tracked the physical activity levels of 506 infants using small ankle-worn accelerometers for four days per track
Futurity2 min de lectureScience
Team Sequences Genome Of Elusive Giant Squid
For the first time, scientists have sequenced and annotated the genome of a giant squid, which shed light on its life in the depths of the sea. Sailors’ yarns about the Kraken, a giant sea-monster lurking in the abyss, may have an element of truth. I