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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00199

Is an Ideal Sense of Humor Gendered? A Cross-National Study

Sumeyra Tosun1,  Nafiseh Faghihi2 and  Jyotsna Vaid2*
  • 1University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • 2Texas A&M University College Station, United States

To explore lay conceptions of characteristics of an ideal sense of humor as embodied in a known individual, our study examined elicited written narratives by male and female participants from three different countries of origin: the United States, Iran, and Turkey. As reported in an earlier previous study with U.S.-based participants (Crawford and Gressley, 1991), our study also found that the embodiment of an ideal sense of humor was predominantly a male figure. This effect was more pronounced for male than for female participants but did not differ by country. Relative mention of specific humor characteristics differed by participant gender and by country of origin. Whereas all groups mentioned creativity most often as a component of an ideal sense of humor, this attribute was mentioned significantly more often by Americans than by the other two groups; hostility/sarcasm was also mentioned significantly more often by Americans than Turkish participants who mentioned it more often than Iranian participants. Caring was mentioned significantly more often by Americans and Iranians than by Turkish participants. These findings show a shared pattern of humor characteristics by gender but group differences in the relative prominence given to specific humor characteristics. Further work is needed to corroborate the group differences observed and to pinpoint their source.

Keywords: Sense of humor, ideal humor, everyday humor, gender, culture

Received: 01 Oct 2017; Accepted: 05 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Tracey Platt, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Kuba Krys, Institute of Psychology (PAN), Poland
Jill A. Jacobson, Queen's University, Canada  

Copyright: © 2018 Tosun, Faghihi and Vaid. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Jyotsna Vaid, Texas A&M University College Station, College Station, United States,