Sense Of Humor: A Literature Review

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Humor is the part of everyone’s experience . It appears to be an important part of human survival. Humor is also been used in education. In educational field everyone from all levels of education whether it is teacher or any educator praised the ability of humor. It works as a learning aid which helps the students to understand and learn the key concepts it decreases the level of anxiety and help the students to relax in the times of tension and making learning a fun.

There is a solid place of humor in the classrooms because of its psychological, social and cognitive benefits. Humor is also helpful in establishing relationship between teacher and students by reducing fear of teacher. So there are numerous reasons to include humor in learning, so In this literature review I will discuss the meaning and definition of humor along with benefits of adding humor in education an educational activity and what is the effect of humor on students’ academic achievement.

Meaning and Definition of Sense of Humor Weisfeld (1983, p. 142) says “ humor appreciation is a distinct, pleasurable effect that often is accompanied by laughter and therefore humor ought to be defined as an emotion or affect. He believes that humor is not an incidental behavior of people but is an evolved behavior. He argues this because (a) it is found species-wide in all known cultures, (b) humor has been observed in related species such as simians and apes, and (c) some neural structures seem to mediate our responses to humor. Whatever its origin, humor is a very complex part of human personality. Many agree that humor is mutlidimensional in nature, but few agree on the exact dimensions of humor.”

Martin and Lefcourt (1984, p. 147) said that “humor is the frequency with which the individual smiles, laughs, and otherwise displays amusement in a variety of situations, but later said that laughter and humor are not the same thing.” Provine (1996) believes that laughter is not always connected to humor; rather, laughter is more often used as a mechanism for moving conversation. The question still remains whether humor is a learned behavior or a natural characteristic of all people. Some scholars have explored the evolutionary basis of humor.

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Philosophers LeFollette and Shanks (1993, p 332) speculated that humor is closely related to belief, says that any situation can be perceived from a variety of viewpoints, based on the beliefs of the individual. Humor can only come from the ability to rapidly flicker from one viewpoint to another. In the same vein, what we find humorous depends on which belief patterns we hold and which alternate belief patterns we can contemplate. This idea also depends on the individual keeping an appropriate psychic distance. This would theoretically explain why we can laugh at situations later, after an appropriate psychic distance has been found. It also explains why some jokes continue to amuse us while others are not amusing the second or third time around, based on our willingness and ability to see the alternate belief patterns.

Solomon (1996) says that “ humor is a three-step process that begins with arousal, is followed by problem solving, and ends with resolution. Humor to her is clearly a multifaceted phenomenon. The following list of synonyms is evidence for the multidimensionality of humor: farce, wit, jocularity, tease, laugh, snicker, zany, joke, ludicrous, satire, mirth, pun, jeer, glee, and giggle.”

Shade (1996) suggests five elements related to humor; humor appreciation, humor identification, humor comprehension, humor mirth response, and humor production. Humor appreciation refers to the affective domain after the humorous elements have been comprehended. Humor identification is recognizing the four forms of humor, which are figural, verbal, visual, and auditory. Humor comprehension is the cognitive demands of understanding a joke. Humor mirth response refers to the spontaneous physical reflex to humorous stimuli, usually in the form of smiling and/or laughter. Humor production is an individual’s ability to create humor. These five elements, in varying quantities, are always present in a person’s personal sense of humor. Other tests designed to measure a person’s sense of humor, divide humor into different dimensions. Humor seems to involve many dimensions of an individual’s personality. Sense of humor addressed in the present study is operationally defined as an attitude or perspective that encourage or motivate individual, control conflict and reduces the tension in the class and helps to promote learning.

Benefits of Humor in Education

One of the main benefit of humor is to Relieve stress and anxiety. Canella . et.al., 1995 and Smeltzer and Bare 1995 says that humor relieves stress and anxiety which are the two factors which interferes the person’s ability to learn the concepts. Even many studies of Lefcourt and Martin in 1986 provides evidence that humor helps in lowering the stress among the students. White and Lewis (1990) when there is atmosphere of warmth and trust in the classroom students are more receptive. Humor is one factor which improves the communication and helps in retention of the concepts and by using humor information stays longer than the dull and boring classroom atmosphere.

Hillman 1995; Nelson 1994 and Johnson 1990 said that if you want to ease tensions humor is the best way to do it especially when there is a discussion about uncomfortable topics in the class. Robbins (1994) humor helps to reduce anxiety and improves learning. Frustration and stress is the main reason of aggression.

Ziv 1997 humor lowered the level of aggression among the frustrated students. Cornett 1986 found that benefits of humor can be achieved witin five minutes. Tenant 1990 discovered that anxiety can be reduced by using humor twice in a week from thirty to thirty five minutes. The other main benefit of humor is that it helps to focus attention among human beings.

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