Finding comfort in a joke: consolatory effects of humor through cognitive distraction.

  title={Finding comfort in a joke: consolatory effects of humor through cognitive distraction.},
  author={Madelijn Strick and Rob W. Holland and Rick B. van Baaren and Ad van Knippenberg},
  volume={9 4},
This study aimed to demonstrate that the cognitive demands involved in humor processing can attenuate negative emotions. A primary aspect of humor is that it poses cognitive demands needed for incongruency resolution. On the basis of findings that cognitive distraction prevents mood-congruent processing, the authors hypothesized that humorous stimuli attenuate negative emotions to a greater extent than do equally positive nonhumorous stimuli. To test this idea, the authors used a modified… 

Tables from this paper

Humour as emotion regulation: The differential consequences of negative versus positive humour

The present research predicted that positive (good-natured) humour would be more effective at regulating negative emotions than negative (mean-spirited) humour, and showed that positive humour was more successful at down- Regulating negative and up-regulating positive emotion.

The effect of emotional stimulus intensity on the selection and implementation of distraction and reappraisal as emotion regulation strategies

Emotion regulation is an important coping mechanism for handling emotional situations and stimuli in day-to-day life. More effective emotion regulation is linked to better mental and physical health.

Using humour as an extrinsic source of emotion regulation in young and older adults

When induced to feel moderately negative emotions, both young and older adults reported a lower negative feeling after viewing the humorous cartoons than after the other ones, indicating that the extrinsic humorous emotion regulation skill remains stable with ageing and suggests that the beneficial effect of humour on emotional feeling cannot be seen as a purely cognitive distraction.

From "Aha!" to "Haha!" Using Humor to Cope with Negative Stimuli.

The functional magnetic resonance imaging study directly compared the emotion regulation effects and neural bases of humorous coping (reappraisal) and ordinary reappraisal following exposure to negative pictures, and found 2 cooperative neural pathways involved in coping with negative stimuli by means of humor.

Humor and Extrinsic Emotion Regulation with Ageing 1 Using Humour as an Extrinsic Source of Emotion Regulation in Young and Older Adults

It has been suggested that intrinsic abilities for regulating emotions remain stable or improve with Ageing, but to date, no studies have examined age-related differences in extrinsic emotion

Humorous Coping and Serious Reappraisal: Short-Term and Longer-Term Effects

The management of unhelpful negative emotions has been addressed by two literatures, one focused on coping via humor, and the other focused on emotion regulation. In the present study, we directly

Those who laugh are defenseless: how humor breaks resistance to influence.

Together, these results illustrate that the effect of humor on resistance follows a two-step process: humor forestalls the development of negative brand associations because of its distractive properties (cognitive mechanism), and engenders positive brand associations Because of its positive emotional outcomes (affective mechanism).

When humor is a matter of heart: Effects on emotional state and interbeat interval

ABSTRACT Previous studies demonstrated that exposure to humor has beneficial effects on psychological well-being. In the present work, we investigated the behavioral and psychophysiological effects


Previous research highlights the potential benefits of engaging with depressive Internet memes for those experiencing symptoms of depression, a phenomenon that can be explained by the humorous



The roles of humor and sense of humor in responses to stressors

Sense of humor and a humorous external event were evaluated as possible factors affecting individuals' emotional responses to a stressor. Participants' anxiety and affective state were assessed prior

Benefits of Humor in Reduction of Threat-Induced Anxiety

The benefits of humor in reducing anxiety were investigated in a laboratory study, in which subjects were falsely led to believe they would receive a shock in 12 min and consistently rated themselves as less anxious and reported less increase in stress as the shock approached.

Sense of humor as a moderator of the relation between stressors and moods.

Three studies are reported that investigated the hypothesis, long held by theorists, therapists, and laypersons alike, that a sense of humor reduces the deleterious impact of stressful experiences.

Exposure to humor before and after an unpleasant stimulus: Humor as a preventative or a cure

The results suggest that humor may help in dealing with some negative psychological conditions more so than others, and exposure to humor, with or without accompanying laughter, should be a positive factor in minimizing the negative impact of potentially threatening social events.

Clearing the mind: a working memory model of distraction from negative mood.

It is suggested that loading working memory prevents mood-congruent processing, and thereby promotes distraction from negative moods.

Effect of Exposure to Humorous Stimuli on Induced Depression

Seven women, who were not included in the above analysis because their initial MAACL depression scores were at least one SD above the mean, showed a paradoxical decrease in depression scores after the depression induction.

Humor, coping with stress, self-concept, and psychological well-being

This paper provides an overview of our current research program focusing on the relationships between humor, self-concept, coping with stress, and positive affect. This research builds upon past work

The Undoing Effect of Positive Emotions

Positive emotions are hypothesized to undo the cardiovascular aftereffects of negative emotions, and contentment-eliciting and amusing films produced faster cardiovascular recovery than neutral or sad films did.

Short-term mood change, perceived funniness, and the effect of humor stimuli.

  • C. Moran
  • Psychology
    Behavioral medicine
  • 1996
The present results suggest that humor may be of benefit when short-term mood changes are desirable, if individual differences are taken into account.

Positive Emotions Speed Recovery from the Cardiovascular Sequelae of Negative Emotions.

Two studies tested the hypothesis that certain positive emotions speed recovery from the cardiovascular sequelae of negative emotions and found that those who viewed the positive films exhibited more rapid returns to pre-film levels of cardiovascular activation.