Humor expression & appreciation : the impact of musically induced arousal : a departmental honors thesis [(HONRS 499)]

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Edwards, Joel A.
Deckers, Lambert
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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The present study attempts to explore the influence of arousal in determining the association between humor expression and appreciation. Current literature accepts three possibilities in the explanation of this relationship. The facial feedback hypothesis suggests that facial expressions cause emotions. The common sense view states that the emotion leads to the facial expression. Lastly, the situation hypothesis places emphasis on the environment influencing the two variables independently. The current study suggests that all three of these hypotheses are refutable with evidence of arousal influence. This factor has been largely underestimated in examining the connection between emotion and expression.The present study employed 53 subjects who were induced with one of three arousal states that were determined by music type if any they heard. Group PMA listened to positive arousal music that was predicted to cause higher levels of humor appreciation and longer durations of smiling and laughing to a comedy tape. The opposite was predicted for Group NMA that listened to negative arousal music. This group should have lower humor appreciation and shorter smile and laugh durations. Group NM that listened to no music was foreseen to lie somewhere in the middle of the former conditions.The results indicated a significant relationship between arousal and facial expressions. Those listening to positive music displayed more facial expression than those in the no music and negative music conditions. No significant results were obtained from arousal and humor appreciation levels. With this evidence as support, three new models have been offered explaining the relationship between humor expression and appreciation.