Studies on humor are being conducted to determine what the benefits of humor are and how they differ among people. One study has found that a sense of humor declines as one ages. Another has found that men and women treat a sense of humor differently in terms of meeting the criteria for a good relationship. This makes humor an important characteristic of one’s lifestyle. A recent study has found that older adults have a harder time getting jokes because of a decline in memory and reasoning abilities. This decline in cognitive flexibility, abstract reasoning, and short-term memory makes it more difficult to comprehend what is humorous. The study conducted featured two groups including 40 healthy adults over age 65 and 40 undergraduate students. They were to complete a series of exercises to complete a list of jokes and stories, choosing the correct punch line for verbal jokes and funny endings to a series of cartoon panels. The verbal joke test was developed in 1983. They also developed a new section of the test in which participants were shown cartoons from the comic strip “Ferd’nand” and asked to choose between four panels to find the funny ending. Three of the choices were wrongs, created by the artist of the comic strip for the study. The point of the study was to determine not what people find funny but what they know is supposed to be funny. The results showed that the younger adults did 6 percent better on verbal jokes and 14 percent better on the comics than the older participants. Another study was done to determine how critical humor is to attraction. They have found that a sense of humor is different between men and women. In the research, women were more likely to say that they wanted someone who makes them laugh while men wanted someone to laugh at them. Whenever a woman tries to be funny, they are often attracted to men as friends more than a prospect. When a woman laughs at a man’s joke, it is said to strengthen the male ego, and this could be threatened if the woman threatens this by playing his game. However, once the relationship is stable and considered long-term, humor becomes a kind of language for couples. The results of these studies show the physical and psychological benefits of humor and its impact on certain aspects of life, such as aging and relationships. In the future, they may be able to help people live better lives through humor. 

For related articles visit http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,288910,00.html and http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061208/NEWS/61208035/1326.

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