Humor, that certain psychological state which tends to produce laughter, isfully characterized by three conditions which individually are necessary and jointly sufficient for humor to occur. The conditions of this theory describe a subjective state of apparent emotional absurdity, where the perceived Situation is seen äs normal, and where, simultaneously, some affective commitment of the perceiver to the way something in the Situation ought to be is violated. This theory is explained in detail and its logical properties and empirical consequences are explored. Recognized properties of humor are explained (incongruity, surprise, aggression, emotional transformation, apparent comprehension difficulty, etc.). A wide variety of biological, sociallcommunicational, and other classes of humor related phenomena are characterized and explained in terms ofthe theory. Practical applications are suggested, including ways to figure out misunderStandings in everyday life. Humor is affective absurdity Across history from Aristotle1 to Freud, and across all the intellectual disciplines of the humanities and human sciences, thoughtful and sensitive people have always sought an understanding of the problem of humor. Humor is an inherently mysterious and interesting phenomenon which pervades human life. The serious study of it is "part of the field" (if only marginally) in a great many academic
HUMOR – de Gruyter
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