Module Information

Module Identifier
PS21620
Module Title
Psychology of Humour
Academic Year
2020/2021
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
Reading List
External Examiners
  • Dr Jane Morgan (Principal Lecturer - Sheffield Hallam University)
  • Dr Jelena Havelka (Lecturer - University of Leeds)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Observation  (2000 words)  40%
Semester Assessment Essay  (2000 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Observation  (2000 words)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  (2000 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Reading Responses  (1000 words)  10%
Supplementary Assessment Reading Responses  (1000 words)  10%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Critically evaluate theories and research in relation to humour studies and be able to communicate it effectively in written reports.

2. Describe, understand and critically evaluate individual and gender differences in the humour experience.

3. Critically evaluate the proposed applications of humour research.

4. Critically evaluate research methods used in the study of humour.

5. Understand and appreciate the importance of studying everyday behaviours and positive emotions.

6. Develop and apply research design and analyses skills in observing, measuring and analysing humour.

7. Critically evaluate research findings from the observation in relation to existing research and theories in humour studies.

Brief description

The purpose of this module is to introduce to students the scientific study of humour and the latest research findings in the field. Multi- and interdisciplinary approaches will be presented in class, with some emphasis on the evolutionary mechanisms that can explain humour. Students will learn the theories that have been developed over the years to explain why we use humour, why we laugh, and what makes others laugh. The module will also examine individual and sex differences in the way people appreciate and produce humour, as well as the biological and evolutionary bases for humour and laughter.

Content

Key topics covered by the module are:
  • Humour as a scientific discipline: its history, concepts, methods and applications.
  • What is humour? Theories of humour.
  • Biological and evolutionary bases of humour and laughter.
  • Social aspects of humour, cross cultural humour, ethnic humour, racist humour and sexist humour.
  • Individual and sex differences in humour.
  • Humor and health.
  • Creating humour.
  • Negative/Aggressive Humour, Black Humour, Sick Humour.
  • Measuring humour.
  • Applications of humour.

Brochure Text

Sense of humour is a distinctive human capacity shared by people everywhere. The experience of humour is at the heart of social interactions, creativity, intelligence, courtship, mental health and more. Humour and laughter can improve an individual’s physical and mental well-being, promote creative thinking, assist in information retention at school and at work, break down interpersonal barriers and contribute to one’s quality of life.
Studying humour can illuminate broader aspects of personality and gender, as well as social, cognitive, behavioural, developmental, emotional, cultural, and biological facets that affect all humans.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable, although students will be introduced to the key concepts of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs used in humour research.
Communication Students will be required to communicate often complex theories and research, sometimes explaining the same phenomenon from various scientific approaches.
Improving own Learning and Performance Humour can be used to enhance one’s resiliency and as such, it is most relevant to students.
Information Technology Good use of word processing, database, search engine (Web of Science; PsychArticles) will be required and reference management programmes recommended. Students will be expected to use digital sources and enhance their learning experiences by undertaking their own work and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, and deciding the direction of their essay.
Personal Development and Career planning Humour is an everyday phenomenon and easily relatable to their own experiences. In addition, students will be asked to observe humour in the real world and write a report about it. Five reflection reading assignment will allow students to critically evaluate research and theories in the field.
Problem solving Students will be required to solve problems, such as how to measure humour in practice, and other common research problems that researchers in the field face.
Research skills Students will be required to practice research first-hand and test the feasibility of their proposed research. They will learn to assess various methods of data collection and evaluate their own research critically. They will also be required to evaluate various research methods used in the field of humour research, interpret the findings and criticise them. They will be able to test whether their own research is consistent with the research in the field and to identify criteria that facilitate the discrimination of good and bad research practices.
Subject Specific Skills Students will acquire the skill of interpreting humour research, and appreciate the complexity of the phenomenon and the importance of studying every day behaviours and experiences.
Team work Students will be required to work in pairs when observing humour and work in small teams on various in-class humour questions.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5