Humans 'programmed' to laugh even at silliest jokes
Washington, July 28 (ANI): No matter how badly a joke is told, it will sometimes elicit a few polite laughs because social norms make us averse to providing negative feedback, a new study has revealed.
Joyce Ehrlinger, a Florida State University assistant professor of psychology, maintains that because society trains us not to hurt others' feelings, we rarely hear the truth about ourselves - even when it's well deserved.
Additionally, that can be a problem for overly self-confident people who carry around inaccurate, overly positive perceptions of how others view them.
Three studies conducted by Ehrlinger and two Florida State graduate students - Adam J. Fay and Joanna Goplen - were modelled after awkward social situations in which one person argues for a political position that others find reprehensible.
The researchers suspected that such moments usually lead to awkward silence more often than impassioned debate.
To test this, they brought together unacquainted participants with opposing views on a controversial issue. They then asked one participant to persuade the other of his or her view on the issue.
Typically the targets responded by smiling or vaguely agreeing, which most likely reduced the potential for conflict, but left the political persuaders with inaccurate, overconfident perceptions of their debating skills.
In a second study, participants displayed overconfidence in their ability to be funny because they failed to recognize how often others laughed at jokes that weren't funny just to be polite.
So exactly what's so wrong with letting others think they're comic geniuses? Who said jokes about bears going into bars were so bad?
Ehrlinger then explained what is exactly so wrong with letting others think they're comic geniuses.
"There's definitely no harm in some types of overconfidence, and I am not suggesting that we should stop living in a polite society. The worst that might come from someone believing that they are funnier than, in reality, they are is a bit of embarrassment or wasted effort auditioning for 'America's Got Talent'," she added.
The findings of the study will be presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th convention in Orlando, Fla., in August. (ANI)
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