The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 4, No 2 (2016)

A series of experiments on humour perception and memorization – a case of humour associations and remembering humorous stories

Stanislava Stoyanova


Four experiments with 48 participants were conducted to study humour perception and memorization. A computerized method (FVW) from Vienna Test System was used (Kessler, Pietrzyk & Puhr, 2003), as well as humour associations, the recall of three funny stories, a short text evoking admiration and respect. The research was focused on what was associated with the word “humour” and on the types of the best remembered stories. The results indicated that the participants remembered better concrete rather than abstract stimuli, as well as meaningful rather than meaningless stimuli. The participants remembered well short verbal stimuli. They associated humour mainly with positive meaning, positive emotions (joy, happiness, amusement, satisfaction). The participants remembered better and non-intentionally the verbal stories heard by them that they estimated as the funniest compared to the stories estimated by them as less funny or the sentences provoking other positive emotions (admiration and respect). The funniest estimated stories were relevant to their personal experience, no matter if they contained puns or not. The estimated least funny story also contained puns, but contradicted some social norms related to the appropriate behaviour at the workplace.


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