What Is Humor?


Quick Answer

Humor is an age-old and universal human phenomenon, often equated with wit, amusement, and laughter. A humorous situation can exist in the incongruous and unexpected or even in the mundane and anticipated. Humor is also viewed as the ability to cope with ease and joy when confronted with stress.

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Humor and laughter, however, may not be linked always and necessarily, claims Dr. Chaya Ostrower. In the absence of a single accepted definition, many definitions of humor explain it by placing it in the context of its deeper and more varied components, such as an individual’s social and cultural settings, emotions, personality traits, intellect, and physiological responses. On the one hand, humor is a continuing subject of study for psychologists, and on the other hand, it is an integral aspect of fields such as literature and art.

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