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Make ’em Laugh? The Mnemonic Effect of Humor in a Speech
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by Mario J. Baldassari - University of Victoria
and Matthew Kelley - Lake Forest College
The present study investigated the mnemonic effects of using a
joke and the influence of the location of the joke within a speech. In
Experiment 1, participants heard 2 passages—one beginning with a
humorous limerick and the other with a nonhumorous one. In Experiment
2, the limericks were presented at the end of the passages. Across both
experiments, humor enhanced memory only for the humorous limericks,
t(44) = 3.22, p < .01; t(35) = 2.59, p < .002, and did not influence memory
for the rest of the passage. These results were discussed in context of the
current literature, and future directions for study were outlined.
Spring 2012 | Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research (Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 2), published by Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2012, Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.