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The Privileged Role of the Late-Night Joke: Exploring Humor's Role in Disrupting Argument Scrutiny

The Privileged Role of the Late-Night Joke: Exploring Humor's Role in Disrupting Argument... This article explores humor's impact on cognitive processing of political messages. Although recent research has pointed to effects of late-night comedy viewing on political attitudes and cognitions (Moy, Xenos, & Hess, 2003; Young, 2004, 2006), scant attention has been paid to the development of a theoretical model to account for these outcomes. This manuscript posits that humor suspends argument scrutiny of the premise of a given text through various cognitive mechanisms involving processing ability and motivation. Four different pathways accounting for humor's reduction of argument scrutiny are discussed. Humor's reduction of argument scrutiny is tested with an experiment with a three condition between subjects design in which participants engaged in a thought-listing exercise after exposure to either humorous political messages (late-night political jokes) or non-humorous equivalents (unfunny translations of those jokes). Results indicate that humor reduces critical argument scrutiny—in part through the “discounting cue” mechanism. Implications for persuasion are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Media Psychology Taylor & Francis

The Privileged Role of the Late-Night Joke: Exploring Humor's Role in Disrupting Argument Scrutiny

Media Psychology , Volume 11 (1): 24 – Mar 21, 2008
24 pages

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References (89)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1532-785X
eISSN
1521-3269
DOI
10.1080/15213260701837073
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article explores humor's impact on cognitive processing of political messages. Although recent research has pointed to effects of late-night comedy viewing on political attitudes and cognitions (Moy, Xenos, & Hess, 2003; Young, 2004, 2006), scant attention has been paid to the development of a theoretical model to account for these outcomes. This manuscript posits that humor suspends argument scrutiny of the premise of a given text through various cognitive mechanisms involving processing ability and motivation. Four different pathways accounting for humor's reduction of argument scrutiny are discussed. Humor's reduction of argument scrutiny is tested with an experiment with a three condition between subjects design in which participants engaged in a thought-listing exercise after exposure to either humorous political messages (late-night political jokes) or non-humorous equivalents (unfunny translations of those jokes). Results indicate that humor reduces critical argument scrutiny—in part through the “discounting cue” mechanism. Implications for persuasion are discussed.

Journal

Media PsychologyTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 21, 2008

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