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Item Summary

Authors:Duarte, Brent Hidetaka
Contributors:Zhang, Jinguang (advisor)
Communication (department)
Evolution & development
aggressive humor
interpersonal relationship
show 2 moreintersexual competition
sexual selection
show less
Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Aggressive humor is humor that reflects an intention to ridicule and insult others. Previous studies found that the use of aggressive humor tends to damage interpersonal relationships and associates with traits typically considered socially undesirable. However, the use of aggressive humor is prevalent, so much so that it is considered one of four major types of humor alongside affiliative, self-enhancing, and self-defeating humor. These findings present an evolutionary puzzle: why has nature preserved a seemingly maladaptive behavior such as aggressive humor?In this thesis, I offered an evolutionary, functional analysis of the use of aggressive humor, and my main argument is that similar to physical aggression and other types of verbal aggression, the use of aggressive humor facilitates intrasexual competition. I conducted a crosssectional survey (N = 400 U.S. adults) to test this intrasexual-competition hypothesis of aggressive humor, and the findings are threefold. First, male respondents, on average, scored significantly higher than female respondents on a self-report measure of the use of aggressive humor, replicating the findings of prior research. Second, a measure of intrasexual-competition (but not courtship) motive positively and significantly correlated with the self-report measure of the tendency to use aggressive humor. This correlation remained significant after I controlled for covariates related to the mating effort and aggression but dropped to non-significance after I controlled for the Dark Triad personality traits. Third, there was no evidence that respondents’ sex moderated the correlation between the motive to intrasexually compete and the tendency to use aggressive humor. Collectively, these findings largely support the hypothesis that the use of aggressive humor is related to intrasexual competition, which could be why nature has preserved the use of aggressive humor despite its negative impact on interpersonal relationships.
Pages/Duration:62 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Communicology

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