Humor and aging - a mini-review

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Humor is one of the most important human activities, one that is enjoyed daily by people in every culture and at every age. However, very little is known about how aging affects humor experiences. Research suggests that elderly people enjoy humor more than younger people, but they have increasing difficulties in understanding jokes. Several cognitive mechanisms that may help explain this trend are discussed. Also, the amount of laughter exhibited by the elderly is smaller compared to young adults. In addition, the older population seems not to enjoy aggressive types of humor as much as the younger ones, and the elderly are especially sensitive to jokes referring to old age. Because most studies are cross-sectional, we cannot ignore possible cohort effects that might influence age differences in humor production and humor appreciation. Several future directions are mentioned with the hope for further research on the subject to follow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-453
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adult Aged Aging/
  • *psychology Humans Laughter/
  • psychology Wit and Humor as Topic/
  • *psychology Young Adult


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