McGraw & Warren, humor zeroing

Marketing researchers zero in, ever further, on understanding how people react to theoretically humorous stimuli. Investigator Dan Goldstein alerts us to a new study which says:

Lead author McGraw

[In one experiment] participants read one of two versions of a scenario adapted from Haidt et al. (1993) as part of an ostensibly unrelated experiment. Participants either read about a man having sexual intercourse with (violation) or marinating (control) a chicken before cooking and eating it (see Table 2). Participants indicated whether or not they were amused and whether or not they were disgusted on dichotomous Yes/No measures. Results: Most participants responded with disgust to the violation, a man having sexual intercourse with a chicken,

This new study is

Benign Violations: Making Immoral Behavior Funny,” A. Peter McGraw and Caleb Warren, soon to be published in Psychological Science. The authors, at the University of Colorado, Boulder, explain:

Humor is an important, ubiquitous phenomenon; however, seemingly disparate conditions seem to facilitate humor. We integrate these conditions by suggesting that laughter and amusement result from violations that are simultaneously seen as benign…. Five experimental studies show that benign moral violations also tend to elicit laughter and amusement.

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