Humor EffectOpen Access

Humor Effect

We’re more motivated by and remember things that make us laugh

An immensely powerful social tool that can reduce stress, improve task completion and heighten brand attachment.

Cheng & Wang (2014). Examining the energizing effects of humor on persistence behavior. Journal of Business and Psychology, 1-14.

The study

Setup

72 people were split into 3 groups: Humor, Neutral or Contentment and shown a respective video: Mr Bean (a British comedy show), an educational  video or a beach scene. They were then all asked to solve a secretly-impossible puzzle.

Results

Those humored spent 50% more time and made 2x more attempts trying to solve the problem than others.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Make it funny. Consumers have more positive attitudes towards humorous ads and their brands, increasing intentions to buy (Eisend, 2008). However, levels are dictated by product category and how related the humor is to the product.

Takeaway image

 Funny stories are more memorable than other positive emotions  like admiration or respect.  Puns are particularly memorable because they force us to simplify our humor delivery to a single line, reducing mental effort (Summerfelt et al., 2010).

Takeaway image

Bring humor into the workplace. It helps boost employee satisfaction (Decker 1987), leads to higher productivity (Avolio et al. 1999) and boosts creativity (Brotherton 1996).  Ben & Jerry’s, Southwest Airlines and Sun Microsystems are well-known for their use of humor within organizational culture (Barbour, 1998). 

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
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Humor Effect

Humor Effect

We’re more motivated by and remember things that make us laugh

An immensely powerful social tool that can reduce stress, improve task completion and heighten brand attachment.

The study

Setup

72 people were split into 3 groups: Humor, Neutral or Contentment and shown a respective video: Mr Bean (a British comedy show), an educational  video or a beach scene. They were then all asked to solve a secretly-impossible puzzle.

Results

Those humored spent 50% more time and made 2x more attempts trying to solve the problem than others.

study graph
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