Right-wing authoritarians aren’t very funny [study]

“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.”

To test the ground, a research team from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of Pennsylvania, US, devised a set of experiments. 186 participants (students) were shown cartoons* and asked to suggest a caption. They were also shown jokes without punchlines, which they were invited to provide.  Example :

The set of participants were also rated with regard to their RWA attitudes :

“RWA was measured with Zakrisson’s (2005) scale, which assesses authoritarian beliefs without referring to specific social groups.”

Results :

“Taken together, the findings suggest that people high in RWA just aren’t very funny.”

See : Right-wing authoritarians aren’t very funny: RWA, personality, and creative humor production  in Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 170, 15 February 2021, 110421

*Note: For copyright reasons, the cartoons are not shown here – nevertheless, they are available for viewing.

Research research by Martin Gardiner