Deutsch: Humorforschung / Español: Investigación del humor / Português: Pesquisa sobre humor / Français: Recherche sur l'humour / Italiano: Ricerca sull'umorismo

Humor research in the psychology context refers to the scientific study of humor's nature, its psychological underpinnings, its effects on mental and physical health, and its role in social interactions and communication. This multidisciplinary field intersects with psychology, sociology, linguistics, and neuroscience to explore how and why humor is used by individuals, how it develops across the lifespan, and its therapeutic and relational benefits.


Humor research investigates various aspects of humor, including its cognitive mechanisms (such as incongruity resolution), emotional effects (like joy and amusement), social functions (such as bonding and status regulation), and physiological impacts (including stress reduction). Psychologists study humor to understand its role in coping mechanisms, resilience, personality, mental health, and well-being.

Application Areas

The applications of humor research in psychology are broad and diverse, encompassing:

  • Clinical Psychology: Examining humor's therapeutic benefits, including its use in psychotherapy and its effectiveness in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
  • Developmental Psychology: Studying how humor appreciation and production develop from childhood through adulthood.
  • Social Psychology: Exploring humor’s role in interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, and social cohesion.
  • Health Psychology: Investigating the effects of laughter and humor on physical health, such as immune function and pain tolerance.

Well-Known Examples

Examples of findings from humor research include:

  • Stress Relief and Immune Function: Studies have shown that laughter can reduce stress hormone levels and enhance immune system functioning.
  • Coping and Resilience: Humor is often found to be an effective coping strategy that helps individuals navigate through difficult or stressful situations.
  • Enhanced Relationships: Shared laughter is a strong predictor of relationship satisfaction and longevity.

Treatment and Risks

While humor has many psychological and physiological benefits, humor research also acknowledges that not all humor is beneficial. Aggressive, sarcastic, or derogatory humor can harm interpersonal relationships and mental health. Understanding the nuances of humor’s effects allows psychologists to better integrate positive humor styles into therapeutic settings and personal interactions, maximizing its benefits while minimizing potential harm.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

Related terms in humor research include laughter therapy, comedy and mental health, and psychology of humor. Each focuses on different aspects of how humor intersects with psychological well-being and social interaction.


Humor research in psychology delves into understanding how humor affects the mind and body, its developmental trajectory, and its significance in social contexts and well-being. By exploring the complex mechanisms and outcomes associated with humor, researchers can uncover its therapeutic potential, enhance interpersonal relationships, and promote physical and mental health. Recognizing the dual nature of humor—its capacity to heal and harm—is crucial for applying humor research findings in clinical practice and everyday life.