A meta-analysis of individual differences in humor production and personality

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily C. Nusbaum (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Paul Silvia

Abstract: One main area of focus in humor production research is exploring individual differences in humor production ability (i.e., the ability to produce something funny on the spot), particularly via its relationship with personality. The last 40 years of research, however, has reported conflicting results. Earlier work on individual differences in humor production and personality suggests that extraversion is the most closely related trait to humor production of the Big 5 personality traits. More recent work, however, suggests that openness to experience has the strongest relationship with humor production, and that extraversion has little to no relationship with the ability to produce something funny. The reason for this inconsistency is unclear, but one factor that may contribute to the issue is the between-study variation in assessment of humor production ability and experiment design. One way to resolve this inconsistency is to conduct a research synthesis using meta-analysis, which has two advantages for clarifying the humor production and personality literature: first, it statistically aggregates the findings of completed research in a way that increases statistical power beyond that of the individual studies included in the analysis, and second, it allows for comparison across studies, meaning that random error included in an individual study can be modeled as meaningful variation due to systematic between-study differences. Therefore, the present research meta-analyzed 15 different studies (totaling 56 reported effect sizes) to explore how individual differences in humor production ability relate to personality. Of the Big 5 traits, only openness to experience significantly correlated with humor production ability. Moderation analyses revealed that while the number of tasks and number of response raters did not have an impact on the size of the openness and humor production effect, the way that humor production ability was modeled did significantly affect the size of the study-level correlation. Finally, moderation analyses revealed that newer assessments of humor production ability did not significantly differ from more traditional assessments. Practical and theoretical implications of these findings for future research are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Extraversion, Humor Production, Meta-Analysis, Openness to Experience, Personality
Personality $x Research
Wit and humor $x Psychological aspects

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