Here is the Spring 2019 Research Team, with whom I have the pleasure of working.
Seated (L to R): Casey Foster, Emma Sullivan, Brian Dahlin
Standing (L to R): Barney Beins, Rahiem Williams, Mary Crilly, Phoebe Simon, Allison Tindel, Michayla Lazzaro, Arielle Hadsell, Maya Shapira, Connor Hulme
My Home Page
This Research Team studies psychological aspects of humor. Our work consists of collecting humorous stories, jokes, anecdotes, and cartoons so that we can see how different people react to them. Students on the Team complete library research to discover what other researchers have found, help plan the studies, and produce written reports of the results.
Our team members have made quite a number of presentations at various conferences, including the annual conventions of the American Psychological Association, the Eastern Psychological Association, and the New England Psychological Association; the National Conference on Undergraduate Research; the University of Scranton Psychology Conference; and the Eastern Colleges Psychology Conference. Various students have co-authored research articles and have continued their work in independent study and as honors projects in the past. A number of our graduates have entered master's and doctoral programs.
Beins, B. C., & O’Toole, S. M. (2010). Searching for the sense of humor: Stereotypes of ourselves and others. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 6, 3/2010, 267-287.
Wimer, D. J., & Beins, B. C. (2008). Expectation and perceived humor. Humor: International Journal of Humor Studies, 21(3), 347-363.
|Casey Foster and Maiah Overdorf present the results of their research at the 2018 NEPA convention.|
|Overdorf, M., Foster, C., & Beins, B. C. (2018, November). Gelotophobia: Lack of Optimism and Fear of Happiness. Poster session at the annual convention of the New England Psychological Association, Worcester, MA.|
Gelotophobia is characterized by a fear of being the object of laughter. Gelotophobes display a constellation of characteristics revealing an often-negative view of their lives, including a lack of typical unrealistic optimism and a dissatisfaction with life experiences. We investigated the degree to which gelotophobes show general fear of happiness. Our results indicate such a fear. We suggest that this fear of happiness is consistent with an overall pattern in which gelotophobes show continual monitoring of their relationships with others paired with interpretations that magnify negative events and general negativity about themselves.
|Julia Glassman and Jaclyn Stagg discuss the results of their research with Professor Vincent Prohaska of Lehman College.|
|Glassman, J., Stagg, J., & Beins, B. C. (2018, March). Unrealistic optimism and gelotophobia: Bleak past and bleak future. Poster session at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA.|
Gelotophobes, who fear being the object of laughter, show dour personalities. We explored the tendencies of gelotophobes toward unrealistic optimism. We hypothesized that gelotophobes would show little unrealistic optimism. They do not display unrealistic optimism for positive events, but do so for negative events. Further, their views of life show global negativity. Thus in some senses, gelotophobes are part-time pessimists, a finding that is consistent with previous research showing that they do not self-deceive.
|Maris Krauss presents here research at the 2017 EPA convention.|
|Krauss, M. (2017, March). Interpersonal trends and the dark triad. Poster session at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, Boston, MA.|
Research indicates that there are three malevolent traits that seem to overlap: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. These traits are known as the Dark Triad. I found that these dark triad traits were significantly related to a variety of interpersonal traits, such as citizenship, social/emotional/personal intelligence, and mistrust. Individuals scoring high on the dark triad seem to be mistrustful, antisocial, and have a lack of ambition. This study suggests a possible relation between the dark triad and how individuals with significant levels of these traits might interact with others.
|Marissa Cardwell and Allie McGuane present their research at the 2016 NEPA convention.||Jocelyn Suarez and Chrissy Smith discuss their research with a psychologist from the University of Texas.|
|Cardwell, M., Smith, A., Suarez, J., McGuane, A., Marshall, M., Krauss, M., Lauser, C. & Beins, B. C. (2016, October). Laughing at me, laughting at you, and interpersonal traits: Gelotophobia and Katagelasticism. Poster presentation at the annual convention of the New England Psychological Association, Worcester, MA.||Smith, A., Suarez, J., Marshall, M., Lauser, C., Krauss, M., Cardwell, M., McGuane, S., & Beins, B. C. (2016, October). Unrealistic optimism and gelotophobia. Poster presentation at the annual convention of the New England Psychological Association, Worcester, MA.|
Reaction to laughter is reliably associated with personality. Gelotophobes respond negatively to laughter and interpret it as directed toward them, whereas katagelasts direct laughter toward others. We investigated intrapersonal traits associated with these two approaches to laughter, including impression management, general anxiety, anxiety associated with adult attachment and self-deception. The results showed that gelotophobia and katagelasticism are both predictive of anxiety, although the anxiety manifests itself differently for the two. The findings indicate that, although gelotophobia and katagelasticism share some features, the traits associated with these two approaches to laughter reflect distinct differences.
Gelotophobia is characterized by a fear of being the object of laughter. Those who score high on measures of gelotophobia tend to show dour personality characteristics, being low in playfulness and high in negative expressivity and mistrust. In this research, we explored the tendencies of gelotophobes toward unrealistic optimism. Given their negative outlook on life, we hypothesized that gelotophobes would show less unrealistic optimism than those not characterized by this trait. Our results revealed that gelotophobes do not display the unrealistic optimism that most people show. At the same time, they do not anticipate negative events in their lives any differently than other people do. Thus in some senses, gelotophobes are neither optimists nor pessimists, a finding that is consistent with previous research showing that they do not self-deceive.
|Maris Krauss and Shannon Rebholz discuss their research with an interested psychologist.||Shannon Rebholz makes a point in talking about her research.|
|Cipriano, A., Rebholz, S., Krauss, M., & Beins, B. C. (2015, October). Approaches to Laughter and the Dark Triad. Poster session at the annual convention of the New England Psychological Association, Fitchburg, MA.||Beins, B. C., Rebholz, S., & Krauss, M. (2015, October). Bad laughter, good laughter, and interpersonal traits: relationships of gelotophobes and gelotophiles. Poster session at the annual convention of the New England Psychological Association, Fitchburg, MA.|
|This study investigated personality traits of individuals associated with gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism. We tested the participants’ levels of the dark triad traits (psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism) in conjunction with these humor approaches. We predicted a positive correlation between katagelasticism and all three dark triad traits, which was confirmed by the results. The expectation that there was a positive correlation between gelotophilia and narcissism was also supported, as were our predictions about gelotophobes having high levels of psychopathy and Machiavellianism.||Individuals differ in their approaches to humor and responses to laughter. This study investigated the interpersonal traits of attachment, mistrust, social intelligence, social confidence, submissiveness, and politeness and their association with one’s responses to humor and laughter. Those who respond negatively to laughter (gelotophobes) do not self-report as socially intelligent or socially confident; they are high in mistrust and submissiveness. Surprisingly, they are low in politeness, and they are insecure in attachments. People who respond positively to laughter (gelotophiles) are not mirror images of gelotophobes, but they do score highly with respect to social awareness. These results confirm and expand on previous characterizations of personality traits of these individuals.|
|Adam Jones and Shannon Rebholz discuss their findings at their EPA poster in Philadelphia.||Ali Cipriano and Amanda Lara talk about their research at the EPA convention in Philadelphia.|
|Beins, B. C., *Rebholz, S., *Cipriano, A., *Lara, A., *Bacher, E., & *Jones, A. (2015, March). Ego Threat and Approaches to Humor. Poster session at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadephia, PA.||*Lara, A., *Cipriano, A., *Ryan, B., *Schlag, L., & Beins, B. C. (2015, March). Development of a simple mood-induction technique for group testing. Poster session at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA.|
People vary in their approaches to laughter. Gelotophobes find it anxiety producing. Gelotophiles enjoy it even when they are the object of the laughter. Katagelasticists like laughter when directed at others. We investigated whether ego threat would affect people with such tendencies. Ego boost and ego threat had different effects on gelotophobes than on gelotophiles and katagelasts.
|Psychological often requires that participants be in a desired psychological mood state, which calls for mood-induction techniques. A number of established procedures have emerged; though useful, sine have notable limitations. Some of the commonly used mood-induction techniques require extended time and placement of participants in individual settings, such as the Velten procedure. Other techniques, such as the autobiographical recollection methodology, are inconsistent and may contain experimenter effects.
We developed a short and quick technique designed to induce positive or negative states in college students in a group setting using anagrams. Participants were randomly placed in either a lowered- or elevated-mood condition. The results indicated that the mood-induction technique successfully affected the participants’ psychological mood state.
Natalie Mendes and Dan Leibel talk to interested psychologists about the gelotophobia research.
Beins, B. C., *Mendes, N. D., & *Leibel, D. K. (2013, March). The tangled web of humor, fear of laughter, and sexism. Poster session at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, New York, NY.
|Carly Herschman talks with a fellow psychologist about the gelotophobia research.||Natalie Mendes and Dan Leibel talk to a psychologist about the gelotophobia research.||Pam Ferrante talks to a psychologist about the terror management theory research as Sam Sherry looks on. Kendra Doychak (in the blue jacket) also listens.||Pam Ferrante and Kendra Doychak stand at their terror management research poster.|
| *Doychak, K., *Ferrante, P., *Herschman, C., *Leibel, D.,
*Mendes, N., *Sherry, S., & Beins, B. C. (2012, October). Sense
of Humor and Predictors of Gelotophobia. Presented at the annual convention
of the New England Psychological Association, Worcester, MA.
Beins, B. C., *Doychak, K., *Ferrante, P., *Herschman, C., & *Sherry, S. (2012). Jokes and Terror Management Theory: Humor May Not Help Manage Terror. Presented at the annual convention of the New England Psychological Association, Worcester, MA.
Brad Johnson, Ché Albowicz, Samantha Sherry, and Jamie LeFebvre at the poster Taking offense: Personality and gender-based jokes at the 2012 annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
|Pam Ferrante and Carly Herschman at the poster Sense of humor: Are we all above average? at the 2012 annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.||Pam Ferrante, Carly Herschman, and Kendra Doychak at the poster Sense of humor: Are we all above average? at the 2012 annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.|
| *Doychak, K., *Herschman, C., *Ferrante, P., & Beins,
B. C. (2012, March). Sense of humor: Are we all above average?
Poster session at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association,
*Sherry, S., *LeFebvre, J., *Johnson, B., *Albowicz, C., & Beins, B. C. (2012, March). Taking offense: Personality and gender-based jokes. Poster session at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, Pittsburgh, PA.
Amanda Espinosa and Andrew Etherington present their poster Neuroticism and humor: Different factor structures in high and low scorers at the Fall 2011 NEPA convention.
|Ché Albowicz and Alyssa Dietz present their poster Neuroticism and sex-related jokes: Sex primes mortality salience at the Fall 2011 NEPA convention.||Peter Russell and Jamie LeFevbre present their poster Neuroticism and the factor structure of the sense of humor at the Fall 2011 NEPA convention.|
| *Dietz, A., *Albowicz, C., & Beins, B. C. (2011, October).
Neuroticism and sex-related jokes: Sex primes mortality salience.
Poster presentation at the annual convention of the New England Psychological
Association, Fairfield, CT.
*Russell, P., *Lefebvre, J., & Beins, B. C. (2011, October). Neuroticism and the factor structure of the sense of humor. Poster presentation at the annual convention of the New England Psychological Association, Fairfield, CT.
*Etherington, A., *Espinosa, A., & Beins, B. C. (2011, October.
Neuroticism and humor: Different factor structures in high and low
scorers. Poster presentation at the annual convention of the New
England Psychological Association, Fairfield, CT.
Katharina Carella at her poster at the 2010 EPA convention. The research involved expectations about humor.
Aliyah Emas at her poster at the 2010 EPA convention. The research involved sexism, humor, and offensiveness.
Anise Mcroskey-Neff and Maiah Overdorf present our research results at the 2018 Whalen Academic Symposium, explaining the project to interested students.
All members of the Humor Research Team have completed the National Institutes of Health Web-based training course "Protecting Human Research Participants" certifying that they are knowledgable about ethical issues in conducting research with people.
Julia Glassman and Jaclyn Stagg present the results of our research at the 2018 convention of the Eastern Psychological Association in Philadelphia. They are talking with Professor Vincent Prohaska of Lehman College.
Marissa Cardwell participated in a summer research institute at the University of Nebraska. Here are some pictures of her at her poster presentation that culminated her 11-week stay there.
Maris Krauss worked as an intern in the lab of Dr. Steve Asher at Duke University. Here she is, doing her data analysis.
Students Currently on Team
A recent project involved ego threat and humor. We have data from 127 participants that Team members have added to the SPSS file. In this picture, they are working to solve a small glitch in the data entry. It required some creative thought and problem solving, but we addressed the ambiguity and resolved the problem. Here are the students hard at work on the data, which produced some interesting findings. We presented the findings at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association in Philadelphia.
The Humor Research Team received an award from the New England Psychological Association (NEPA) at the 2005 Annual Meeting.
The Research Team also won awards at the 2007 NEPA meeting for Faculty-Student Collaboration:
Beins, B. C., McCarthy, C., Rigge, M., Rigoli, B., & Sawyer, S. (2007, October). Expectations About Humor Affect Ratings: A Generalizable Effect with Social Implications.
Benfante, L., & Beins, B. C. (2007, October). Self-Reflection and Sense of Humor: The Big Five Personality Characteristics and Humor.
Oregon Research Institute: International Personality Item Pool
Interesting and Notable Links to Other Humor Sites
(Please note that I have posted these links in the event that you are interested in them. The content of those web pages is under the control of their owners; these links do not constitute an endorsement of their content. Most of the links are associated with professionals in the field of humor research or who conduct therapy.)
for Therapeutic Humor Home Page
Humor: International Journal of Humor Research Home Page
International Society for Humor Studies Historian Page (ISHS)
The Jester Home Page: Participate in their Research
Willibald Ruch's Home Page at the University of Düsseldorf
Steven Sultanoff, Ph.D., "Humor Matters" Home Page
CITI Ethics Certification
This page is maintained by Barney
Last modified August 2018
Copyright 1996-2018, Barney Beins
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