Title

Verbal Overshadowing and Humor Perception

Presenter Information

Erin Sigel

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 202

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

This study examined the effects of verbal overshadowing on humor. Verbal overshadowing is a phenomenon which can occur when the act of verbally describing something a person has seen, tasted, or heard interferes with their actual perception of the event. Much research has been done on verbal overshadowing, and on its effects on other stimuli such as face recognition and wine tasting. However, studies on its relation to perception of humor are lacking. The current study was performed in order to address this lack by exploring whether the phenomenon of verbal overshadowing applies to humor. The participants for this study were 100 students who registered for the study and received credit for their participation through Central Washington University’s Sona system. All participants read the same joke. Then, the control group performed a distractor task, listing the states in the United States of America. The experimental group explained, in writing, why the joke was or was not funny to them. Afterwards, both groups rated the funniness of the joke on a scale of 1 (not at all funny) to 7 (extremely funny). It was anticipated that the control group would find the joke to be funnier than the experimental group, because verbal overshadowing was expected to impair their perception of the joke. However, no significant difference was found between the two groups’ ratings of the joke. Reasons for this failure are discussed.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Marte Fallshore

Additional Mentoring Department

Psychology

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May 17th, 10:20 AM May 17th, 10:40 AM

Verbal Overshadowing and Humor Perception

SURC 202

This study examined the effects of verbal overshadowing on humor. Verbal overshadowing is a phenomenon which can occur when the act of verbally describing something a person has seen, tasted, or heard interferes with their actual perception of the event. Much research has been done on verbal overshadowing, and on its effects on other stimuli such as face recognition and wine tasting. However, studies on its relation to perception of humor are lacking. The current study was performed in order to address this lack by exploring whether the phenomenon of verbal overshadowing applies to humor. The participants for this study were 100 students who registered for the study and received credit for their participation through Central Washington University’s Sona system. All participants read the same joke. Then, the control group performed a distractor task, listing the states in the United States of America. The experimental group explained, in writing, why the joke was or was not funny to them. Afterwards, both groups rated the funniness of the joke on a scale of 1 (not at all funny) to 7 (extremely funny). It was anticipated that the control group would find the joke to be funnier than the experimental group, because verbal overshadowing was expected to impair their perception of the joke. However, no significant difference was found between the two groups’ ratings of the joke. Reasons for this failure are discussed.