Humor Us

Hahaha! The average four-year-old child laughs 300 times a day. By contrast, it takes more than two months for the average 40-year-old adult to laugh that many times. This week, we talk with behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University about why so many of us fall off a “humor cliff” as we become adults. Plus, how we can inject more laughter into our lives, even during the most difficult of times.

Additional Resources


Humor, Seriously by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas. 2020.

Research Studies:

Risky business: When humor increases and decreases status, by Bitterly, T. B. et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2017.

Laughter’s Influence on the Intimacy of Self-Disclosure, by Gray et al. Human Nature. 2015.

The Effect of Reminiscing about Laughter onRelationship Satisfaction, by Bazzini D. et al. Motivation and Emotion. 2007.

Sense of humor and survival among a county cohort of patients with end-stage renal failure: a two-year prospective study,by Svebak et al. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. 2006.

Teaching and Learning with Humor, by Avner Ziv. The Journal of Experimental Education. 1998.

A Study of Laughter and Dissociation: Distinct Correlates of Laughter and Smiling During Bereavement, by Keltner D. and Bonanno G. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1997.

Managerial humor and subordinate satisfaction, by Wayne Decker. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal. 1987.

Grab Bag:
Read more about karaoke diplomacy from Foreign Policy.
President Ronald Reagan’s humor from the Reagan Foundation.
Shaquille O’Neal’s full speech at Kobe Bryant’s memorial service.
More about employee trust.
Michael McIntyre stand-up routineMichael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.
John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight on gene editing.
Tina Fey shares her improv tips with then Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Jerry Seinfeld stand-up routine on walking dogs.
Ellen Degeneres’ special, Relatable


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