What can it tell us about our sense of humor

The humor is multifaceted. Psychology speaks of a so-called four types of humor that are totally different way to contact with other people.

Rzeczpospolita: the Police went on vacation in Zakopane. “Well, how nice there?” — asks him after the return of the head. “Hard to say, with the mountains can not see anything”.

Adam Kucharski (Adam Kucharski) do You like jokes about cops?

They allow drivers to experience the sweet feeling of revenge. Two hundred years ago Goethe allegedly said that a person’s character can best be described through the prism of his laugh. He was right?

To a large extent. Sense of humor — a trait that forms a person. Human nature makes us, unfortunately, to concentrate on the unpleasant, negative experiences, and humor, which is at the opposite pole, allows us to live through this nightmare, to neutralize the unpleasant aspects of life. As a psychologist and researcher of humor, I’ll take him to the jokes. Humor in all its many facets.

— I know people that in each everyday situation, retain the presence of mind. How is that possible?

— Plays a role in this temperament. This is a set of personality traits that is inherited on a genetic level, and through which we act similarly in different situations. One of such features is the ability to remain calm. The next element that forms our sense of humor is the ability to shape reality and to find in her comic impulses. It is not given to everyone. But a sense of humor is also reflected in the demeanor. Psychology distinguishes four so-called type of humor, allowing us to establish relationships with others.

— I have one friend who met me on the street when a snowstorm is raging, may exclaim: “Look, what a wonderful day!

Is the first type of humor: affiliazioni focused on forming relationships with other people. A positive attitude allows us to create a pleasant atmosphere. Spending time with such a person, maintaining contact with him, we ourselves feel better. Next, a slightly different type is the type of adaptive, which serves as a support for our “I am”. It is not aimed at others, and ourselves. It is something like a lifeline that we cling to in difficult situations to maintain their dignity and faith in themselves. When we feel bad, we can raise your mood and to cope with the difficult situation.

— Can, hearing the jokes of someone, to understand what problems bother you?

— Says the theory of psychoanalysis, humor shows our unmet needs, unresolved conflicts, areas that are blocked social taboos or other barriers. In particular, Freud distinguishes aggressive and sexual attraction. Studies confirm that some people with high levels of aggression reduce it, telling cruel jokes. Similar is the situation with sexual attraction, though some show that people with successful erotic life too, like jokes about sex.

I know one young man who hid behind jokes about homosexuals their fantasies in this area, and later consciously probing the immediate environment to see how it might react to his coming out.

— Happens and so. However, most of the jokes men on this subject, motivated by the desire to raise their self-esteem and reduce fear that they will be suspected of such leanings. A more successful example of adaptive type is the so-called Czech humor: if the unpleasant truth be reduced to an absurdity, it is easier to accept it, to face reality and to regain composure.

— “Be careful, Keith!” shouted the incredibly fat man jumping in the Jacuzzi. I was immediately flooded with sympathy for him.

Apparently, this is what he wanted. This is the third type of humor. We call it masochistic, self-deprecating. Man tries to create a mood, and at the same time striving to be noticed and accepted by others. It allows them to laugh at themselves, sometimes turning into a “whipping boy”. It should be emphasized that this behavior may be related to different intentions and emotions. To understand that in the mind of a person who is masochistic speech can be difficult.

— That they may be hiding?

Sometimes people laugh at their excess weight because of the complexes, that is, they just put themselves below others. If we turn to another sphere, a good example of this type of humor can be found in the Jewish people is well known for the anecdotes depicting the shortcomings of this nation.

— “Moishe, where did you get such a beautiful watch?” “This is my father before his death sold.” You think such jokes circulate the Jews themselves?

— Of course. Perhaps in this way they try to anticipate the attack. As in the eristic: to deprive the enemy of the argument, you need to use it first, then he will not be able to serve the opposite side. Presenting some information about yourself in the form of jokes, we can get used to it.

The problem is that among young people spread jokes of a different kind. I met on one forum for such comments: “Jokes about the Jews is terrible but I can’t not to laugh at them”. “I’m not laughing at genocide, and over the joke, he’s funny.”

— This is an interesting argument. Note: telling jokes and listening to them, we can break away from the normal relation to reality. The point here is not the transfer of information, and to enter the world of jokes, which tells about the reality, but does not copy it. This world is often upside-down picture of reality, and this is a surprise, so the joke becomes all the cognitive interest.

— So it’s all innocent fun? Why, then, I managed to find a few jokes about cancer?

— These jokes are not always so innocent — Often in jokes, we unveiled our true relationship to things. We can Express our emotions, hostility, hatred. Then comes relief, because by using humor, we can give vent to those feelings that are considered unacceptable by society. Take a break from theory: people often love to shock, it allows them to feel original. They love to provoke, to cause others certain feelings or thoughts, and at the same time aspire to emotions.

— One day, noticing a wrinkle under the eye, I gleefully reminded her husband that the said Louis XV the Marquise de Pompadour: “Our love has built her nest in the wrinkles around your eyes.” It does not matter that in the end he still dumped her…

— (laughs) It’s a natural attempt to come to terms with the inevitable, associated with the regressive changes that appear in a person with age. But in this case it was humor, working on his own “I”. Truly self-deprecating humor can be devastating. Actually is a symptom of weakness, because it allows you to build relationships with their humiliation. And masochistic humor, as the last type, aggressive, can often be found in people with high levels of neuroticism.

What does that mean?

Is emotional instability, high level of anxiety, a critical attitude, a tendency to reject social contacts, low self-esteem. The higher the level of neuroticism, the more likely that we will try at least to strengthen his own I and their self-esteem with masochistic, sarcastic, sarcastic or aggressive jokes. Aggressive type of humor intended to humiliate and injure other people.

— In preparation for our conversation, I saw a fragment of “doneness” (from the English “roast”, a genre of Comedy programs: the invited guests to brutally make fun of the protagonist and each other — approx. transl.) Voevudsky Cuba (Kuba Wojewódzki). The program is a very vulgar things gathers the audience of two million people.

— You want to ask, as something that humiliates or hurts, can cause a smile? To understand this mechanism, it is necessary to look, that generally creates a comic effect. One theory says that we are amused at the inconsistency of the story and its final phrase, which is unexpected. If this conclusion is accurate, it reverses the entire meaning of the text upside down, and we can interpret the whole story again, to recreate a coherent sense.

— Coherent sense? I felt sick when I heard: “Mom, you know what’s funnier than seven children, nailed to one tree? One baby nailed to seven trees”. Where is the sense?

Not every joke gives the solution. For example, in the absurd humor this element is optional. If the humor, which builds upon discrepancy, and thin, it activates our cognitive abilities and allows you to get pleasure from a kind of “intellectual craftsmanship”. As suggested by the researcher of humor Radomska Anna (Anna Radomska), people who tend to be conservative, more like simple humor, but to liberalism — I prefer the absurd and ambiguous jokes. But let us return to the mechanisms of humor.

Another theory says that we laugh, feeling superiority over others. A classic example is an elegant man who slips on a banana peel. Kind of humiliated man brings us joy.

— Related to this is the popularity of the genre of “frying”? I understand that I am not forced to watch such TV shows and know that television, like sex, has the right to be different, but still…

— You think I’m going to protect these programs? This aggressive and destructive humor that nothing builds up. Does he laugh? Depends on whether the statements leading part of humor, or demeaning jokes intended to demonstrate his superiority over the target of ridicule, to create an ad yourself. In the second case, it’s not funny. If such humor was aimed at me, it did not seem funny to me. Not because I’m weak, but because I don’t want to become the target of the attack.

— Guests of Cuba Voevudsky apparently liked everything: they were making fun of them…

— Is the question. If someone humiliated me with jokes, I can focus on this incident and get stuck on it or use the formula “it was just a joke” because it will be easier. I was humiliated, and I accept convenient version. If I consider it an attack and will decide to stay in the same plane…

— … you will have to fill the interlocutor inventive insults?

— It’s hard. Such a program is not meeting on neutral soil, I would have acted in the role of guest… to maintain some symmetry, I’d have to be very skilled. Before our conversation you asked me whether it was true that people watch such programs, because they for centuries needed spectacles. Yes, at least partly so.

— People who are able roughly to make fun of others, perhaps, do not have a high level of empathy.

— Of course, interrelated. In social reality we can divide people into two groups. The first group contains those who are attuned to relationship. For them, interpersonal contact is the essence of life. They weigh the words don’t hurt, it’s usually the extroverts with a sweet temper. The second type of people is oriented to tasks, relationships mean less for them. Moreover, they can solve problems by price relations, and the natural way they operate is in constant competition.

— Is it true that terrorizes his surroundings cruel mockers suffer low self-esteem?

— Yes, studies confirm this. I already said that in tandem with aggressive or masochistic type of humor often goes neuroticism, that is, including low self-esteem. Interestingly, when the level of neuroticism decreases decreases at the same time desire to turn to these types of humor. It is, of course, not just low self esteem. The theory of humiliation States that when we identify ourselves too strongly with any group, we seek to show its superiority over the others, and so we turn to jokes that belittle another group. Aggressive humor is also an act of desperation and inability to accept reality. We humiliate others to improve their own health.

— As a theory of humiliation work in the social sector?

— Humor can describe us as a group: poles, scientists, men, supporters of any party and so on, and can determine our position in relation to other groups. If we strongly identify ourselves with a particular community, jokes about others not only make us laugh: belittling them, we feel the superiority of their own community. But if we’re not playing this important role, we can laugh over others and over their own group.

— From the survey Agency TNS Polska showed that most likely we laugh at politicians (44%) and police (35%). We love to make fun of groups that are considered strong or who have power?

— There is such a hypothesis. But since we are talking about research: it amazes me they fall in the popularity of jokes about sex.

What makes them funny. Sex is now attacking us from every poster.

— From a social point of view, jokes are used for probing specific areas, introduce a certain element of spice, creating a veiled way voltage. When social taboo loses its force, the role of such messages also decreases. On the other hand, jokes on the topic of sex can be subtle intelligent design that allows you to play content, to build allusions…

— Women feel in the company of such loving jokes men is not too comfortable.

Jokes with sexual overtones generate excitement and tension. Research shows that in mixed groups to them were more appealing to men, however, being in their company, women allow themselves to joke on erotic themes as often as men. Moreover, these jokes may not be particularly sophisticated.

— The women’s humour differs from men’s? For example, I never heard a man belittle their own dignity…

Is actually rare. Men’s humor highlights the position, points to the uniqueness and intelligence. Men often resort to biting humor that uses irony, sarcasm and aggression. We are more focused to advertise themselves.

— Understandable desire. We all remember that even God created Adam, he wept, seeing how imperfect his creation…

— (laughs) That’s it! Psychology says that women’s humor serves a very different purpose: it aims to create strong relationships and a positive atmosphere. Women are also much more likely to appeal to situational humor. Women’s history are lengthy, descriptive, sometimes it’s whole stories. In psychology, there is a division in the sphere of relations and tasks. Men who think a task can finish working together even in the tense atmosphere. They will fight later. Otherwise with women: they intend to form relationships and, therefore, cannot complete the case without the friendly atmosphere and mutual trust. Although this is, of course, to some extent, a stereotype.

Research Regina Pechnik (Reginy Piechnik) showed that aggressive and masochistic humor is a sign of immature personality and problems with psychosocial functioning. And how does this relate to intelligence? Do you think there is any relation between its level and a sense of humor?

— Scientists have shown that the more complicated a joke, the higher the intellectual level you need to have to understand. So, apparently, less intelligent people don’t understand her, not being able to digest some information. This does not mean that intelligent people mock fine jokes…

Some of those who are tormented by the evil environment aside, justified by the phrase: “irony is a weapon of smart people”. Is that so?

— Use of irony or mockery inclines us not intellectual level, and our unmet needs, lust for power or a high level of neuroticism low self-esteem. If someone links the irony with a certain level of intelligence, there might be a tendency to demonstrate their superiority over others. Although, of course, to use irony, a certain level of development need to be.

— Why sense of humor is so important for society?

— People with a sense of humor is considered more appealing in social terms. We ascribe to them all kinds of positive qualities and preferred their society. After all, we need those who can pull us up, not down. In addition, a sense of humor helps you to fit into a new group and win it the status.