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Humor Code

A Professor Walks Into a MOOC...

Peter McGraw and Joel Warner | Posted 07.17.2013 | Science
Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

According to the Benign Violation Theory, humor has its roots in potentially negative experiences (i.e., violations) that are made to seem okay in some way (i.e., benign). That makes joke telling risky because you can fail by being too benign or by creating too much of a violation.

Who Has a Bigger Funny Bone: Democrats or Republicans?

Peter McGraw and Joel Warner | Posted 12.31.2012 | Comedy
Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

However you slice and dice the presidential candidates' performances at the three debates, there's little question that Barack Obama won on the comedy front.

The Danish Cartoon Crisis of 2005 and 2006: 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Original Muhammad Controversy

Peter McGraw and Joel Warner | Posted 11.25.2012 | Comedy
Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

We traveled to Denmark to investigate the only cartoons ever to be called a human rights violation by the United Nations. We discovered a tale far more complex and surreal than we'd ever imagined.

Why It is Important to Crack the Humor Code

Peter McGraw and Joel Warner | Posted 11.07.2012 | Comedy
Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

When done well, humor can have a significant positive effect on your life. Isn't it time we use a little more academic rigor to figure out how it works?

Most Things (Even Funny Things) Aren't Funny

Peter McGraw and Joel Warner | Posted 09.10.2012 | Comedy
Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

These strategies might not turn you into the next Chris Rock or even the life of the party. But considering how humor has been shown to improve people's happiness, making life funnier, even just a little bit, is surely worthwhile.