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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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The Psychology of Humor

Keywords: humor; laughter; power; social exclusion; gender

Abstract: Humor and laughter pervade interpersonal interactions. Although recent research has documented that humor and laughter significantly influence how colleagues perceive and interact with one another (e.g., Bitterly, Brooks, Schweitzer, 2017; Cooper, 2016), much about humor and laughter remain unexplored. Across four presentations, we explore the antecedents and effects of humor and laughter within organizations. Specifically, this symposium explores how inside jokes can increase feelings of closeness but can also induce feelings of social exclusion (Sezer, Bitterly, Brooks, Norton, & Schweitzer); how individuals prefer to review rather than to recommend humor (Yeomans); how power influences the use of humor (Bitterly); and how power differences drive gender differences in laughter (Bitterly, Brooks, Aaker, & Schweitzer). Together, these presentations will provide novel, interesting, and important insights on the psychology of humor and laughter.

T Bradford Bitterly, University of Michigan

Maurice Schweitzer, Wharton

Alison Wood Brooks, Harvard Business School

Ovul Sezer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Michael Yeomans, Harvard Business School


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