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Positive EmotionIntegrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides$
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June Gruber and Judith Tedlie Moskowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926725.001.0001

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The Dark and Light Sides of Humor

The Dark and Light Sides of Humor

An Emotion-Regulation Perspective

(p.169) Chapter 10 The Dark and Light Sides of Humor
Positive Emotion

Andrea C. Samson

James J. Gross

Oxford University Press

Humor is often described as an adaptive coping strategy. However, the empirical literature is surprisingly mixed. It is not yet clear under which circumstances humor is helpful, and whether there are situations in which humor might even have detrimental effects. In this chapter, we first define humor, and also identify light and dark sides of humor. Framing humor as an emotion regulation strategy, we present empirical results demonstrating the role of humor in down-regulating negative emotion and up-regulating positive emotion. We discuss benevolent (more positive) and mean-spirited (more negative) forms of humor and how they have differential effects on emotions when adopted as an emotion regulation strategy. We conclude by considering promising directions for future research on humor.

Keywords:   humor, emotion regulation, coping, incongruity-resolution, positive emotions, negative emotions

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