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In the Loop: November 5, 2008 Archive

Liberals vs Conservatives: Who has a better sense of humor?

Posted at 1:36 PM on November 5, 2008 by Sanden Totten (4 Comments)

Can liberals take a joke? Not as well as conservatives can. According to a recent study from the folks at Psychology Today, conservatives have the healthier funny bone of the two.

Here's how it worked: researchers gave self identified liberals and conservatives a series of jokes. Some were more traditional, like:

Husband: When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?
Wife: I clean the toilet bowl.
Husband: How does that help?
Wife: I use your toothbrush.

Others were a bit stranger, like this line from Jack Handy:

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

The end result? Conservatives found the jokes funnier. This surprised a few academics, some of them admitted though that their idea of conservatives as humorless stiffs may be more related to the political beliefs of liberal college professors than any real-world evidence. Dr. Martin, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario explained the phenomenon like this:

"Conservatives tend to be happier than liberals in general. . . a conservative outlook rationalizes social inequality, accepting the world as it is . . . whereas a liberal outlook leads to dissatisfaction with the world as it is, and a sense that things need to change before one can be really happy."

Given the way the elections turned out yesterday, conservatives may need that sense of humor to make it through the next couple years.


To read the rest of the jokes used in the study, go here and scroll down.

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