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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1983 Apr;44(4):817-23.

More aggressive cartoons are funnier.


Independent rankings of humor and aggressiveness were obtained for sets of cartoons drawn randomly from two different magazines. The correlation of median humor and median aggressiveness rankings ranged from .49 to .90 in six studies involving six different sets of cartoons and six different groups of subjects, including children and adults, high and low socioeconomic status (SES) individuals, and native- and foreign-born individuals. This correlation is consistent with Freudian, arousal, and superiority theories of humor. Another prediction of Freudian theory, that high-SES subjects should be more appreciative of aggressive humor than low-SES subjects, was not supported.

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