A weight discrimination task testing the effects of various degrees of incongruity on humor responses
Inspection of the data obtained by Deckers and Kizer (1974) in exploring the incongruity hypothesis of humor brings to attention what appears to be discrepancies with the incongruity hypothesis of humor. Shifts in weight of equal physical proportion produced differential degrees of expressed humor. The incongruity hypothesis would predict humor to be a function of the size of the incongruity rather than the direction. In the present study, it was hypothesized that these differences in expressed humor were the result of incongruous shifts of unequal psychological distance. A total of 120 subjects were assigned to one of three ranges of expectation with half shifting tc a heavy weight and the others to a light weight. As predicted, shifts of equal psychological distance produced equal degrees of humor expression and shifts of unequal psychological distance produced differing degrees of humor expression. An interaction (p<.002) between the weight of the Standard and the weight of the Critical Comparison affected humor expression. The incongruity hypothesis was upheld.