Humor And The Generation Of Social Capital by ifrock

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· @ifrock ·
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Humor And The Generation Of Social Capital
Have you ever wondered what to give your coworkers for a" Beard Grub" party or what your boss would have given his employees as a "tip of the day." Well, I will give you an answer for both and much more. Be Humorous! The best part about Humor is that it works across all cultures, ages, income brackets and religions. You don't have to be middle class to enjoy the joys of laughter; anyone can get the jitters and the feel-good chemicals going inside them when surrounded by good cheer.
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In the US we celebrate Beating Odds with an annual "Best Joke of the Year" contest. In Australia they celebrate Soccer (of course) and "The Big Match", while in the UK they celebrate England's World Cup win over Italy... and we Americans cannot get enough of "Seinfeld". But where in the world did the term "Beating Odds" come from? And why do some cultures appreciate humor so much?

The term was borrowed from the Old French language where "par le lieu" means "on the left hand side". Thus Beating Odds became a way for people on the left hand side of the table to laugh at someone on the right hand side. It is unclear whether it has anything to do with being physically right-handed or not, but the combination of the two seems to be the root of the word's corruption. So the next time your doorman says to you, "Beating Odds is good", think back to the Old French word and try to guess who might have said it first. Be Humorous!

A close relative of the Humor Culture is Confucianism. The original meaning of Confucianism was "the proper relationship to a superior or supreme power; civilized society." It was developed out of a desire to understand the concepts behind comedy, theater and other forms of entertainment. Thus, Confucian scholars were among the first to identify and define humor as part of human culture.

Another influence on our present study of what makes people laugh is the ancient Chinese value of humor. According to a current study by Christopherson and colleagues, humor has greater emotional benefits than other forms of positive emotions, including anger and peace. For example, recent studies have shown that listening to jokes improves your ability to reduce stress and anxiety. But, it also improves your feelings about your relationships with other people.

In this research, participants were asked to read jokes either on their own or in response to a prompt. During the study, the researchers found that when the participants were asked to describe their reaction and how humorous they thought the joke was, they matched the description with the specific humorists they had previously encountered. Those that the participants didn't have access to were used as controls; therefore, it is safe to assume that the effectiveness of humor comes from access. The authors conclude that the effects of humor are not just limited to the individuals who are exposed to it most often.

This second research offers some insight into the benefits of humor, but it also provides insight into why people perceive events differently. In this research, participants were asked to rate how funny a joke was according to three categories: "common sense," "imaginative thinking," and "specific humor." Interestingly, the authors found that the common sense and imaginative thinking categories were rated significantly higher by westerners than by easteners. The authors suggest that this difference in perception may be related to differences in norms around sex and humor.
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In addition to being a major contributor to social interaction and communication, humor can also create an aura of inbuilt social skill. For example, participants were asked to rate the pros and cons of a situation. When participants were exposed to a situation through humor, they were more likely to be open to persuasion. Conversely, when participants were exposed to a situation through serious thinking or common sense, they were more likely to close their eyes or become detached from the situation. To further explore the link between social skills and the generation of social capital, future work may investigate the different perceptions of humor between groups of different cultures.
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