Book Review: Survival of the funniest

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewpeer-review


Reviews the book, "Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach" by Rod Martin (see record 2006-21361-000). This book was written as an effort to promote the study of humor in mainstream psychology. If nothing else, Martin's book shows that humor is a serious subject of study, and humor researchers should not be taken lightly. There is a bit of a paradox for any humor researcher, as many expect that writing about humor in academia should be funny, and are somewhat surprise at the dryness of most humor papers and books. However, as Martin correctly points out, expecting humor research to be funny is analogous to assuming that writings about human sexuality should be sexually arousing. This book is admirably comprehensive, organizing humor studies in a readable manner. The only caveat is the absence of a research methods chapter. Although many methodological comments are scattered throughout the book, humor research faces stiff challenges, and addressing these issues is necessary. For example, many psychological studies use jokes or cartoons in their experiments, but this is only a small part of how humor is experienced in everyday life. This also exemplifies another major problem: studies of humor are overwhelmingly conducted in the laboratory, and laboratory studies notably do not reflect the natural occurrences of humor and laughter. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Humor
  • Evolutionary psychology


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