How can humor be like a social “radar”?
“Humor is one tool, like the box, but it contains a vast arsenal of social weapons, each with a unique social purpose,” said professor of psychology, Frank McAndrew, in his article in the American journal Psychology Today.
The concept of “sense of humor” may be somewhat rubbery, as there are many associated terms that are partly similar, but they differ in large parts in some of their details. In order to understand what a sense of humor is, we need to delve into the depths of this quality.
The term “humor” can be synonymous with the word “humor,” both of which means having the ability to entertain other people by making them laugh, and they may also mean enjoying “wit,” which is used to elicit sarcastic comments from others. Humor is also known as the ‘feeling of fun’ in routine everyday situations, especially when puns and other word games are used.
However, humor is a trait of social value that we all want to possess, just as we desire to be smart and presentable. People who lack a sense of humor usually lack the social skills needed to avoid bad situations in everyday social life.
What did the experts say?
Philosophers and psychologists have long searched to understand what humor is and why it exists. For example, Freud believed that humor is an outlet for socially and religiously forbidden stimuli, through which it is possible to “vent” what is repressed within us. Other philosophers, such as Aristotle and Descartes, believe that humor makes us happy because it gives us a feeling of superiority over others.
Well-known psychologists, such as Peter McGraw and Caleb Warren, have put forth a theory about the role that “good violations” play in the sense of humor. According to the theory, something becomes funny when it violates our expectations of how things should be. In other words, words and situations become funny when they violate familiar social norms and taboos, and at that time, they become amusing to us, provided they do not constitute a moral offense or a threat to us.
Is it a social skill that develops over time?
Evolutionary psychologists such as Geoffrey Miller believed that humor, along with other creative abilities such as art and music, evolved as a fair signal of intelligence and genetic quality, and then became part of human nature, after individuals successfully exploited and clung to the innate senses.
The value of such a social skill in defusing hostile situations, in dispersing tensions, and in managing alliances and friendships should not be underestimated as well.
Humor can also be a pioneering social tool in its work, like the radar, giving an individual an incredible ability to identify similar minds from among a large group of strangers. If you have sufficient humorous skill, you can find out who shares the same political views with you, or who disagrees with you, or who is characterized by modesty or flexibility, by using the technique of “good teasing”, which works like a ball, hits it on the wall and returns to you.
A skilled humorist can “trap other minds” that are mentally connected with one another, by making intelligent notes about individuals’ reactions to situations. In other words, humor can serve as a way to connect people who work in the “wavelength” range, by observing the performance of others in certain situations that you joke on you, to alert you about whom you want to get to know better.
Source: “Psychology Today” magazine