EFFECTS OF AGE AND TYPE OF VISUAL INCONGRUITY ON HUMOR RESPONSES OF PRESCHOOL CHILDREN

DOROTHY GREENE PITA, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate young children's responses to humorous stimuli, specifically examining the effects of age and type of visual incongruity on preschoolers' mirth responses, humor ratings, and responses to two comprehension questions.^ Five familiar concepts were subjected to five types of visual incongruity. The resultant 25 pictures were presented individually to 60 nursery school children ages 3 to 5 1/2.^ Results indicated that humor responses differed as a function of age. Three year olds had markedly lower mirth and comprehension scores across all types of incongruity than did 4 and 5 year olds. Further, 4 year olds' response scores to the second comprehension question were significantly lower than those of 5 year olds. Humor ratings did not vary as a function of age.^ Results revealed a marked difference in responses as a function of type of incongruity. Size Disproportion was less easily comprehended and evoked less mirth across all ages than did the other four types of visual incongruity. Animals Acting Like Humans and Physical Combinations were appreciated and understood the best, and were given significantly higher humor ratings.^ An interactive effect between age and type of incongruity was found only for the comprehension measures. Differences in Comprehension Scale A responses were found between 3 and 4 year olds for all types of incongruity except Animals Acting Like Humans and between 3 and 5 year olds for all five types of incongruity. Differences were found in Comprehension Scale B responses between 3 and 4 year olds and between 3 and 5 year olds for all types of incongruity except Animals Acting Like Humans. On this scale, differences were found between 4 and 5 year olds for two types of incongruity, Unusual Human Behavior and Size Disproportion.^ Correlations between the two measures of comprehension across age and type of incongruity were generally high. Correlations between Mirth Scores and responses to Comprehension Scales A and B were found only for those types of incongruity that were least understood. ^

Subject Area

Early childhood education

Recommended Citation

PITA, DOROTHY GREENE, "EFFECTS OF AGE AND TYPE OF VISUAL INCONGRUITY ON HUMOR RESPONSES OF PRESCHOOL CHILDREN" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8409268.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8409268

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