Talk:Theories of humor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Comedy (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Comedy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of comedy on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Psychology  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Psychology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Psychology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
 
Note icon
This article has been marked as needing immediate attention.

Article life[edit]

See talk:Humor research#Article history. Laudak (talk) 17:51, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


Opposing views[edit]

"Evolutionary psychologist, Geoffrey Miller contends that, from an evolutionary perspective, humor would have had no survival value to early humans living in the savannas of Africa."

Most primate researchers would disagree, I think. Unless he's using an extremely intellectual definition of "humor", it is in general a more survival-oriented reaction to social frustrations than anger. It would take a a really unusual definition of humor to assert believably that bonobos and chimpanzees, for example, DON'T have senses of humor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 140.160.105.110 (talk) 18:24, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Defence mechanism[edit]

So what about humor as defence mechanism? --Dennis714 (talk) 22:12, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Got a source? — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 23:27, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
As it stated in defence mechanism article: Humour: Overt expression of ideas and feelings (especially those that are unpleasant to focus on or too terrible to talk about) that gives pleasure to others. Humor, which explores the absurdity inherent in any event, enables someone to "call a spade a spade", while "wit" is a form of displacement (see above under Level 3). Wit refers to the serious or distressing in a humorous way, rather than disarming it; the thoughts remain distressing, but they are "skirted round" by witticism. --Dennis714 (talk) 10:30, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

This can be added:

Humor as defense mechanism

According to George Eman Vaillant's (1977) categorization, humor is level IV defense mechanism: overt expression of ideas and feelings (especially those that are unpleasant to focus on or too terrible to talk about) that gives pleasure to others. Humor, which explores the absurdity inherent in any event, enables someone to "call a spade a spade", while "wit" is a form of displacement (level 3). Wit refers to the serious or distressing in a humorous way, rather than disarming it; the thoughts remain distressing, but they are "skirted round" by witticism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dennis714 (talkcontribs) 16:46, 14 July 2010 (UTC)


Spelling[edit]

ok im not going to start the argument over whether american or british spelling is correct, but shouldn't the spelling in this article be brought into line with its parent article Humour? seems a bit silly to constantly change spelling —Preceding unsigned comment added by -ross616- (talkcontribs) 15:32, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that the article should been moved so it is the same as the article on Humour, which could be considered its parent article. Bozzio (talk) 11:17, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Please see WP:ENGVAR before moving articles. Also note that there is no requirement for an article to have the same spelling as a "parent article". Some standardized rigour (talk) 07:38, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Merge Laughter in literature into this article?[edit]

  • Merge - The Laughter in literature article has good information that I would not have know about if not for the merge tag at the top of this article. All of the content there fits here, and would not make this article too long. PPdd (talk) 04:55, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
  • I tend to agree.--Gautier lebon (talk) 12:50, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
  • At first glance, this may appear to make sense, however, they are really separate topics, and I think should be kept as separate articles. Some editors of the literature article may mistakenly add material which really belongs here. This is an error of the editors or contributors however. As topics, they are separate. Although theories of humor may be referred to in the article on literature, this does not make them the same topic. Literature is its own field, and the workings of humor in literature needs its own article. Including analysis of literature here would cause the article to become bloated. This article is just for the theories of humor, not theories on the analysis of literature.Deluno (talk) 04:12, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Most of the material seems to be theories of laughter. If there is anything else it could be moved to the main Humor article. If really large material regarding analyses of humor in literature as a separate subject should appear in the future then a separate article could be recreated. Even if the articles are not merged the theories should be moved here.Acadēmica Orientālis (talk) 12:00, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
    • Merge with the general Laughter article. Looking closer I think the material should not be merged with this article but with the general Laughter article. The material is short enough to be a section in the short Laughter article. Also it is more about the history of specific persons thoughts about Laughter than about current theories about humor which is the focus of this article.Acadēmica Orientālis (talk) 16:07, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Own academic research[edit]

I have a plan to introduce my academic research and original theory of humor into this article, under a new heading of two equal signs. Can someone tell me if a self-published pdf file, from a blog, can be posted as the primary text presenting the new theory? cdg1072 4:15, 1 March 2012

In my opinion, no, that is not an appropriate source.--Gautier lebon (talk) 11:17, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I also read that doctoral dissertations might be accepted as sources, since they are vetted,but not MA theses and papers. I have written two, rather than one, MA thesis on the theory of humor. Does this make a difference, or is it the judgment of the discussion group that I must remove the entry? ?Cdg1072 (talk) 22:38, 2 March 2012 (UTC) Cdg1072 (talk) 22:36, 2 March 2012 (UTC) cdg1072
Dear Gautier, As you are reading my last question, I want to let you know that the cited paper has been on submission to the journal Human Studies (Sociology)since 12/11. If my entry cannot now be sustained in the wikipedia article, I'd like to ask if it is possible to delay removal until we hear back from Human Studies, which could be in a few weeks. That may also clarify how the paper is being received. I have one MA with focus in humor theory/studies from UChicago, and another MA in philosophy, humor theory thesis, with coursework not yet complete. I understand if these are not deciding factors. Best, Cdg1072 (talk) 02:01, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Dear Cdg1072, you would also need to satisfy _notability_. You should promote your theories within academia first (or another public space), and only then add them to Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Winterstein (talkcontribs) 16:38, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

New section on Mimetic Theory[edit]

As you can see from the discussion just above, an editor has added a new section to the main article, titled "Mimetic Theory". That section is based on a single reference, a paper from the editor himself. I have a feeling that this is not an appropriate citation, so the section in question should not be included in the article, but I'd like to read the views of other editors.--Gautier lebon (talk) 08:36, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Looks like a huge problem to me. Isn't this a clear violation of Wikipedia rules? The author of the paper (... of the University of Chicago) has contributed a new section to the article as user Cdg1072, based on nothing but his own work. To make things worse, he's attacking other theories in the article, and it seems clear to me from the article and talk page edits that he's using two IPs resgistered to the University of Chicago (147.126.46.147 and 147.126.46.145) as socks to bolster support for his section and further attack the sections he does not like. Another editor has suggested protecting the page until this is worked out. Meters (talk) 03:03, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
It looks like pure promo of an (unpublished) article of the editor. I have been looking at internet to find more information about the writer. 1 article on scholar (pré 2010) and 58 hits on Google Search,. It fails to convince me of his importance. I can't judge about the importance of the magazine, as I can't find it in the mess of completely unrelated stuff. As a clearly unimportant sociologist/philosopher, we can't allow him to promote his articles and ideas on Wikipedia. Night of the Big Wind talk 16:27, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

This issue appears to have been settled, and it is agreed that all must be published AND reviewed before being given actual attention herein. I hope by this statement that I don't overstep any bounds. But though you have reasonable rules to which I promise to adhere, your criteria for what counts as reliable material produces an odd result, in the final analysis. I only suggest this for your reflection. Some of the material which I questioned turned out, on fair judgment, hardly to be of publishable quality. You require reliable debate to respond to these entries, when in fact some of those same entries are themselves unreliable or unintelligible. It seems off base, to assert that I attacked such theories solely for my own gain, without the proper regard or respect for them.Cdg1072 (talk) 02:29, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

OK, it looks like we have consensus here. Dear CDG, can you please delete the section "Mimetic Theory" at this stage? You can add it later if your article is references or summarized in publications that are not authored by you.--Gautier lebon (talk) 15:53, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

What is a Theory of Humor?[edit]

The idea "theory of humor" is not well organized in this article. Editors should consider that "benign violation" and other ideas of mixed emotions are accidental to humor, and that they clearly don't make a strong claim to a "theory of what humor is." Of course, this may not be reason to label the section "Benign Violation" as "disputed."

But if all theories pertaining to humor belong in this article, should there be a section for theories that merely describe something accidental about humor, rather than define the essence of it? For example, the topic of humor's moral impact is not unimportant. It may have applications in sociology, psychology and statistical analysis. "Benign violation" exists in things that are not humorous (mixed emotions, moral controversy). As the article already notes, there is a consensus that the classic theories of "incongruity, superiority, and relief," have all been shown to be accidental or fail to account for many features.

If an editor wants to claim that a section is unclear, this ought to be proposed in the talk page first. Then if there is at least some agreement that the section is difficult to understand, it can be so labeled. But, if a section gives solid counterexamples by means of basic logic, as does the Mimetic Theory, it is probably not unclear. If a theory claims necessary and sufficient conditions, then it claims to be a "holy grail theory," that is, it does not merely describe some property of humor which is present in other things. "Tension and release," for example, is in humor, but it is also in other things. The benign violation theory claims necessary and sufficient conditions. Many qualified scholars find this to be a very weak claim with many counterexamples.Cdg1072 (talk) 23:50, 7 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 147.126.46.145 (talk) 23:52, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

The Ontic-Epistemic Theory Refuted[edit]

Humor is concerned in a very general sense with delusions. The Ontic-Epistemic Theory instead focuses on the desire for "social reality." The OET is proposing that an ultimate desire, shattered in humor, is simply to see the world as meaningful rather than a collection of atoms without such meaning. But although this is a desire, it is a specific one motivated by intellectual traits. Desire in a general sense is broader and more palpable than the concern for the meaning of life and the world.

Where humor is focused on desire in any way, it always means some form of delusion is shattered. The possibility of delusion is a basic fact of every instance of love. Since there are many such examples, together they all indicate that humor is to be explained in terms of desire. Although our perceptions of meaning and social identity may count as humorous deception, this is a specific case.

It is difficult to miss the ubiquity of lying and deception in humor. It even shows up in ambiguity, since this idea strongly suggests misinterpretation of context or of reality. This concept is sufficiently humorous to serve as evidence pointing toward a general concept of humor. A "theory of humor" must mean a general theory that encompasses every form of the phenomenon. The idea of "pleasant delusion" or "shattered pleasant delusion" fits that requirement. Cdg1072 (talk) 18:14, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Is the Computer Theory of Humor frivolous?[edit]

The Computer Theory of Humor is similar to the claim that humor is like something paradoxical or untrue, being fed to a computer. And as though the input damaged the machine, the claim is that such damage resembles laughter. Is the explanation pseudoscience? This question is raised respectfully and inviting the opinion of others.

"A realization of this algorithm in neural networks justifies naturally Spencer’s hypothesis on the mechanism of laughter: deletion of a false version corresponds to zeroing of some part of the neural network and excessive energy of neurons is thrown out to the motor cortex, arousing muscular contractions." Cdg1072 (talk) 04:10, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

The Pattern Recognition Theory is too Vague[edit]

"Pattern recognition" is too vague to make a noteworthy case for the meaning of humor. There may be specific patterns mentioned in the full version of the theory. But to group them together as merely "patterns" skirts the demand for some substantive idea that unites them. The "humor theory" article ought to feature the history of humor theory, but within reason and plausible examples. There is justification to delete the Pattern Recognition article. Cdg1072 (talk) 23:35, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Dear CDG, I'd like to thank you for taking the time and making the effort to contribute to Wikipedia, but items like the above are original research which cannot be used to justify modifications to Wikipedia articles. You need to come up with references that way something in order to add/modify/delete an article.--Gautier lebon (talk) 09:57, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
You win. But two things concern me. One is that there is a threshold of coherence in this topic. That threshold is being stretched. There is a point at which common sense is sufficient to judge a piece as incoherent or implausible, and such judgment might not count as research, at all. I have thoroughly examined the material in question, and I have written two separate MA theses on this topic. But it does not require such expertise to see that this book (Pattern Recognition) does not meet any standards of professional scholarship; it is not of publishable quality. It makes no valid contribution. It is very strange material, much of it actually meaningless verbiage, or gibberish. In particular the vague use of categories without explanation, and the lack of any connection to previous views are red flags. It is unlikely in such a case that academic conversation would be productive, or that it would even occur. Second, it has been said that an entry is original research, because the citation is unreliable. And the cite is unreliable, because use of it is original research. To get out of this circle, I have resubmitted the removed material to a journal.Cdg1072 (talk) 17:54, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Dear CDG, you identify above the limitations of Wikipedia, please see wp:rs.--Gautier lebon (talk) 07:03, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
You can submit all the material in the world to a journal and become the acknowledged world's leading expert on the subject and that still won't justify your removing material based on "common sense" or any other judgment of yours, even if it is published in those journals. All you could validly do here is reference criticisms of the material, not remove it. -- Jibal (talk) 17:50, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to remark that this theory also struck me as weak and there doesn't seem to be a lot of coverage of it either, so it could probably be removed for basic notability reasons. We can't include every theory of humor ever published. You seem to imply that if something is referenced it gets to stay no matter what; this is not how Wikipedia works. After all, we don't include Gene Ray's views on time in the article on Day. 138.16.21.199 (talk) 08:05, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

RE: Mimetic Theory of Humor[edit]

Editors ask me to delete the so-called "Mimetic Theory" or Delusion Theory, and I comply by deleting it, but you put it back. What's your intention?Cdg1072 (talk) 17:28, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for deleting the material. He probably reverted you for making an unexplained deletion. Please leave edit summaries. I have posted on his talk page to explain.
And please don't delete or edit Talk page dicussions, particularly by usin gdiferent accounts or IPs Meters (talk) 17:50, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Incompatible statements[edit]

"Proponents of each one originally claimed their theory to be capable of explaining all cases of humor, however, they now acknowledge that although each theory generally covers its own area of focus, many instances of humor can be explained by more than one theory."

This statement does follow, it is not a non sequitur. It is true that the assertion, "many instances of humor can be explained by more than one theory," contradicts the assertion that some theory is "capable of explaining all cases of humor." But, while the statement does contain a correct logical implication, it has other problems, because "areas of focus" implies that there are several types of humor covered by different theories.

The statement has it appear as though several theories were limited to certain classes of humor, and that explanations of these classes were largely satisfactory. These assertions are inaccurate, however, since the theories generally don't limit themselves to groups of humor instances, but it is assumed that they select some aspect applying to the totality which they hold to be the single most important. It has been proposed that explanation is shared (see Rod Martin, 2007). (That is trivial, and only follows from the proliferation of theories). But, even if several theories limited themselves to isolated classes, it could not also be true that many instances of humor can be explained by more than one theory. Those assertions are incompatible. There cannot be isolated theories of types of humor and "many" instances of shared explanation. The latter implies that theories are basically global.

Only a linguistic theory might purport to explain just a class, or an "instance of humor." No global theory does. We are not told what an "area of focus" means among the other theories, we don't know whether it means a type of humor or a way of explaining humor generally. Cdg1072 (talk) 22:51, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Inside Jokes[edit]

This page is severely lacking in not mentioning the Hurley/Dennett book/theory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jibal (talkcontribs) 20:02, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Expert needed[edit]

I think the theories mentioned in this article should be collated and perhaps pruned. The article currently does not present the theories in any relation to each other. Even sections like "Predominant theories" and "Alternate theories" would be helpful, but it would be better to try to categorize the theories into different types and organize the sections according to this categorization. I'm not sure if there exist good sources for such categorization, though.

The other thing is that some of the theories seem to be very minor ones. For instance, who is Alastair Clarke and why should we care about his pattern recognition theory of humor? Essentially, the theory seems to be that humor arises when "the brain recognises a pattern that surprises it". In other words, humor arises when your mind encounters something funny. What a useful theory! At least the other theories attempt to explain why some patterns are found to be funny and others are not.

To summarize, this page needs cleanup from someone familiar with the subject, who can sort out the important theories from the fringe ones and who can organize the sections in a meaningful way. 138.16.21.199 (talk) 07:52, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

I fear that what you propose would be original research,and thus not allowed. You would have to find a source that does what you outline, then you could cite it.--Gautier lebon (talk) 17:52, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
You are mistaken. There is a difference between original research/synthesis and editorial oversight, and I am merely suggesting we apply some of the latter.138.16.21.199 (talk) 19:42, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

RE: Clarke's "Information Normalization Theory"[edit]

In response to the last talk entries, it should be noted that Mr. Clarke has also published another theory called "Information Normalization." Furthermore, that later theory is similar to the "false belief" theory of Matthew Hurley and Daniel Dennett. Editors here might consider whether it would be original research, merely to mention that similarity. Maybe it would be, and thus should not be allowed unless it has been published elsewhere. I myself don't intend to describe the comparison here, or the difference between them (though I know that as well).Cdg1072 (talk) 14:05, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Zac Toa[edit]

A contributor to this article has recently added an entry concerning a "Five Elements" theory of humor. This material is clearly original research, and not admissible in wikipedia as the author has self-published it through amazon.com, without any academic vetting. A better theory was removed from this article, on the grounds that it too lacked an established journal or publisher. The "Five Elements" is not an actual theory of humor, but only an outline of types of humor, or things that happen to be funny. That much is trivial, and uninformative. A "theory of humor" is expected to present one idea that is common to all humor, not five. This entirely self-proclaimed author has no known qualifications in psychology or philosophy.Cdg1072 (talk) 03:53, 13 February 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.163.223.195 (talk) 22:03, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

In the book, the element of surprise is shown as the central element, and the other four are just manifestations of that element. In addition, the two requirements of humor just qualifies surprise. So it is one cohesive theory, centering around surprise.

But if you don't want it on the Wikipedia page, fine. Just please remove the one-star review I got, it's been hurting my sales. I won't edit on Wikipedia again if that's what you want. 63.143.241.191 (talk) 13:01, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

That junk "review" was put there by someone called "F. Vallee" ... that is not Cdg1072. -- Jibal (talk) 12:30, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Is Five Elements of Humor an example of Original Research?[edit]

Five Elements is a self-published brief essay. It has no "academic vetting" of the sort mentioned in wikipedia guidelines. Why is it allowed? Cdg1072 (talk) 16:51, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

My interpretation is that it isn't, per WP:N. I note that it keeps getting re-added, usually by ip editors. if the burden of removing it (I'm sure there will be further additions of this material, it's happened often enough) gets to be too great, we may want to submit a request for page protection of some sort. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 00:28, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I see. I thought I might have misidentified the relevant guideline.Cdg1072 (talk) 06:56, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Nope. WP:N and WP:RS certainly apply. I think WP:SELFPUB WP:SELFPUBLISH too, in this case. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 07:51, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Interestingly, right now there is a poor review at Amazon's page for the book that mentions the Wikipedia spamming explicitly, and which someone who may or may not be Mr. Toa appears to confirm that they are using WP as an advertising medium. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 04:57, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Expansion of Superiority Theory[edit]

The "Superiority theory" section has quite a bit of evidence behind it, yet it consists of only a few lines about its origin. Also, simply suggesting that people laugh because they feel are better does not do the theory justice. There needs to be more application, and the full biological reasoning on why some psychologists believe it.

...I really can't write a formal article, and I never have. When I can, will link to a useful book on the subject. Burriloom (talk) 00:09, 19 February 2013 (UTC)Burriloom

Suggest deleting the "Computational-Neural Theory of Humor" section[edit]

On notability grounds. The only references are papers by one man. CiteSeer and ResearchGate don't give it much weight. I don't mean to question the value of the research itself. But it would seem to be too small & untested for Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Winterstein (talkcontribs) 16:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

I recommend against deletion. I have heard this particular "debugging" theory of humor discussed in other secondary sources (though I can't lay my hands on them at the moment), and the section contains other worthwhile material, including connections to other related theories of humor. It would make ideally make up a small part of a recommended rewriting of this article, where the broad range of theories of humor, many of which shade into one another, would be presented in a more coherent manner.CharlesHBennett (talk) 20:27, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Humor in animals?[edit]

Many human emotions and behaviors, e.g. anger, play, have counterparts in animals, it so it might be expected that humor would also. I know people who think their dogs have a sense of humor, but aside from such dubious anecdotal evidence, there must have been serious research into whether and in what sense non-human animals exhibit or experience humor. If so, it should be part of this article.CharlesHBennett (talk) 20:07, 24 March 2014 (UTC)