Skeletons Not For Halloween: Another Example

Our annual reminder that not all skeletons are suitable for use as Halloween costumes:

Penises as variable-volume hydrostatic skeletons,” Diane A. KellyAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1101, 2007: 453-463.

This year, a related reminder about joking on Halloween:

Joking in the face of death: A terror management approach to humor production,” Christopher R. Long and Dara N. Greenwood [pictured here], Humor, vol. 26, no. 4, April 2013, Pages 493–509. (Thanks to investigator Neil Martin for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Ouachita Baptist University and Vassar College, explain:

dagreenwoodTerror management theory has spawned a body of experimental research documenting a multitude of defensive responses to mortality salience manipulations (e.g., rigid adherence to dominant cultural values, self-esteem bolstering)…. Integrating a terror management paradigm with a cartoon captioning task, the present study finds that participants subliminally primed with death wrote funnier captions than those primed with pain, as judged by outside raters. Interestingly, a reverse pattern was obtained for participants’ own ratings of their captions; explicitly death-primed participants rated themselves more successful at generating humorous captions than their pain-primed counterparts, while no significant difference emerged between the two subliminal priming conditions. Findings contribute new insights to recent research suggesting that death reminders may sometimes facilitate creativity and open-mindedness.”

And now, the mandatory reminder (thanks to investigator Miles Cipriano for reminding us) about cake or death: