Researchers Paul J. Silvia, Alexander P. Christensen, and Katherine N. Cotter, from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Pennsylvania, just published a new study on an unusual topic in the Journal of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences. Douglas Heingartner of Psyche News Daily summarized the research as finding that, “right-wing authoritarians – that is, people who are hostile to non-conformity – are considerably less funny than people who do not share that disposition”.
From the research paper’s abstract:
Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) has well-known links with humor appreciation, such as enjoying jokes that target deviant groups, but less is known about RWA and creative humor production—coming up with funny ideas oneself. A sample of 186 young adults completed a measure of RWA, the HEXACO-100, and 3 humor production tasks that involved writing funny cartoon captions, creating humorous definitions for quirky concepts, and completing joke stems with punchlines.
The humor responses were scored by 8 raters and analyzed with many-facet Rasch models. Latent variable models found that RWA had a large, significant effect on humor production (β = −0.47 [−0.65, −0.30], p < .001): responses created by people high in RWA were rated as much less funny. RWA’s negative effect on humor was smaller but still significant (β = −0.25 [−0.49, −0.01], p = .044) after controlling for Openness to Experience (β = 0.39 [0.20, 0.59], p < .001) and Conscientiousness (β = −0.21 [−0.41, −0.02], p = .029). Taken together, the findings suggest that people high in RWA just aren’t very funny.
You can find the full research paper here.