The Effect of Humor
The Effect of Humorous and Non-Humorous Images on Peoples’ Recollection
Numerous research studies have shown that humor, a positive emotional arousal, has
been very effective stimulus on peoples’ recollections of images, events, sentences, etc.
of humor has been very extensive in many media advertisements, institutions, and even
households for the desire or purpose of imprinting their intended information in peoples’
memories or recollections.
Though previous research showed positive link between humor and
recollection, nevertheless, it is still unclear whether that result is relevant in today’s world and, if
humor is in fact effective on memory, then in what form.
In six experiments on the effects of humor on sentence memorization, (Schmidt, 1994) it
is found that humor enhances sentence memory.
The results show that humorous sentences
receive increased attention when presented in the context of non-humorous sentences, and that
increased rehearsal of humorous sentences is at the expense of rehearsal on non-humorous
Schmidt states, however, that the unexpectedness or surprise factor does not play any
role in determining the effect of humor on memory in a non-humorous context since the positive
effects of humor on memory occurred in both free and cued recall.
Schmidt’s findings assert that
humorous content commands increased attention.
In all of these six experiments (Schmidt, 1994) participants were undergraduate students
selected from the same pool of subjects on separate occasions.
Experiments one through six
used 45, 80, 80, 48, 65, and 52 subjects respectively.
All these participants were primarily from
the same age group, and from the same locale.
For the purposes of the experiment’s reliability, it
would have been better if different participants were selected for each individual experiment.
Since perceiving humor and responding to it can be variable in different age groups and
environments subjects should have been selected accordingly.
In these experiments, participants