“Ha!” Takes a Serious Look at Humor

In one famous humor study conducted by James Rotton at Florida International University, subjects who watched funny movies after surgery requested 25 percent less pain medication. Another study showed that watching an episode of “Friends” reduced anxiety three times as effectively as just sitting and resting. Subjects also performed better on cognitive tests, such as word-association problems, after reading funny jokes and watching videos of Robin Williams performing stand-up comedy.

For those of us who are more Grinch than Groucho, Dr. Weems says it is possible to improve your sense of humor, either through training or by increasing your exposure to funny media and people, along with lots of practice. To his credit, he even tried some stand-up of his own one night at a club in Baltimore.

Did he kill it? Apparently not. Luckily for us, it looks as if he’ll stick to his day job.

For full New York Times article click here.

For full James Rotton study click here.