Why do we create black humor to face a bad situation?

BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) — According tomedia reports, for people who lack a sense of humor, their lives are painful, and all they can do is sit and grieve as the new corona virus continues to ravage the planet. At the same time, some of us are good at making black humor segments, and when they see their houses burned down, accidents and other unexpected bad situations, they can tell a joke in time to relieve the pain. Black humor as a distraction, coping mechanism, or to help people accept reality, and thus help millions of people out of suffering. Why do humans use black humor to deal with bad situations?

Why do we create black humor to face a bad situation?

Peter McGraw, Professor of Marketing, University of Colorado, USA, Director of the Humor Research Laboratory

“People think it’s funny that ‘wrong but okay’, ‘threat but security’, or we’re referring to ‘benign violations’. “

To answer this question, people first need to answer what humor is, and our research at the Humor Research Lab shows that people find it funny to be “wrong but okay,” “threat but safe,” or what we’re referring to to as “benign violations.” Because these are all predictions based on a threat that is inevitable. Tragic events, disasters, plagues, these are all good materials for black humor, because they have met half of the necessary conditions for black humor – error, threat, aggression.

Why do people pursue this gloomy comedy effect? A method called “auto-constant temperature” may explain that it is the equivalent of changing the room temperature through the comedy element of a humorous joke. People’s coping ability and sense of humor are important to everyday life, and when I met a Holocaust survivor, she spoke of the suffering of the World War II concentration camps, sometimes with laughter and humor, a unique black humor that vividly reflects the suffering of the concentration camps.

So when the most terrible victims of genocide in human history are able to face pain and suffering, it is better to deal with the threat of certain diseases, in which case most of the fear stems from the uncertainty of the event, so when you are in a dangerous situation, it is necessary to watch a joyous romantic comedy film that allows you to deal with all the difficulties with ease.

Alex M. Borgella, an associate professor of psychology at Fort Louis College, specializes in the effects of contempt for humor.

“While black humor may seem more counterintuitive, it may be a viable way to alleviate anxiety in a bad situation of utter despair or loss of control. “

When I think about why humor is used in a seemingly anachronistic situation, I first look at its potential in reducing anxiety and stress. The general benefits of humor today are mainly reflected in its ability to reduce anxiety and its performance in a variety of situations, such as team building, memory, and student conditions in school. In general, the vast majority of studies on humor agree that humor is a very powerful tool that promotes social connections and enhances mental health.

For example, I’ve done some social studies of seemingly ironic self-deprecating humor, and the results show that viewers tend to have less stress on these black humors, and more interestingly, humorists themselves feel less stressed. To put it another way, if you’re under a lot of pressure to host some big events, and when you start reaching out to the audience with self-directed jokes, you, as the host, will feel more active and less stressed. While self-deprecating humor is a bit complicated, many of my works show similar effects, involving identity-related humor, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs.

While black humor may seem more counterintuitive, it may be a viable way to alleviate anxiety in a bad situation of utter despair or loss of control. This type of humor is often associated with death and destruction, such as doctors and nurses in the oncology department of hospitals, soldiers in the trenches on the battlefield, war refugees, body first reactions, etc., in which case witty jokes may be inappropriate or even intolerable to outsiders, but in fact they are an indispensable element of humor.

With the rapid spread of the new coronavirus worldwide, resulting in millions of infections and tens of thousands of deaths, I think it is particularly important to take into account the severity of developments when measuring the ethical standards of humor for medical professionals. Doctors or nurses joke about a patient’s worsening condition, which may seem unethical, but in the face of a terrible illness, people should still have a happy mood, maintain a normal state of mind, inadvertently with good intentions of black humor will ease the patient’s depression. In the United States, humor is not used to “bully” patients, we should reduce stress for those who need humor.

Janet Gibson is professor of psychology at Greennell College in the United States.

“To a certain extent, understanding these black humor jokes is like controlling our fears and convincing us that we exist and are still alive.” “

There are many reasons why people like to deal with frightening or anxious things with black humor, which is very effective in dealing with stress.

1, I use humor to deal with stress. When stress strikes, humor is a cure for self-healing, and smiling can also produce endorphins that help us boost our emotions and reduce threats to our immune system, while improving our ability to control the situation.

2, black humor involves the deviation of social norms. Black humor subtly interprets the deviation of social and moral norms, when we are surprised, we will find that black humor involves the deviation of social norms, when we see some humorous text feel absurd, but can reveal some truth through funny humorous language. We’ll be funny about this dark humor, not aware that we’re offended. For example: the recent phenomenon of people making fun of the phenomenon of hoarding toilet paper during the outbreak, it is clear that the hoarding of toilet paper behavior is absurd, such black humor is justified, revealing the deviation of social norms.

3, terrible situation can produce anxiety. In particular, people’s general anxiety of death, we use black humor to deal with this anxiety, deliberately making fun of things that make people afraid, and to some extent, understanding these black humor jokes is like controlling our own fears, making us confident that we are still alive.

4. Research shows that liking black humor doesn’t mean you’re sick or insane. Often people like black humor means that they can deal with their anxiety well, people need a healthy mind to experience the feeling of pleasure, when we are depressed, we often lose a sense of humor, but if you can find humor in the dual meaning of life, then you can deal with their anxiety well. As a result, some therapists use humor to help patients see problems from multiple perspectives, frustration or fear is only a perspective, people should look more positive and just side, turn problems into challenges, social distance and isolation into their own unique creative space.

In fact, people can see a variety of explanations for difficult situations, including people in frightening situations, when flexible implementation of thinking and decision-making is valuable. That’s why studies have shown that people who like a dark sense of humor tend to have higher education and reject anxiety and depression.

Willibald Ruch, a professor of psychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, specializes in humor, happiness, and personality changes in response to ridicule.

“It’s not that black humor is intentional, it’s that black humor is needed in a bad situation to relieve stress. “

Humor can be used to deal with scary situations, because humor reduces tension and anxiety, which is a good way to deal with stress, and it will help you see the bright side of things, see things from different perspectives, improve your mood, and reduce negative emotions. But in fact, black humor is only a byproduct of a difficult situation: if you receive a gift that exceeds expectations on your birthday, you may not create a dark humor atmosphere, because receiving a gift that exceeds expectations is a pleasant thing in itself. Therefore, it is not that black humor is intentional, but in a bad situation in order to relieve the pressure, the need for black humor atmosphere.

Adrianne Wood is lead researcher and associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia’s School of Emotion and Behavior.

“Humor shortens the distance we look at things, and sometimes these distances give us a new perspective.”

I think humor is a cognitive game, so it’s important to start thinking more about the function of cognitive games, as many species, including humans, do. This cognitive game includes spontaneous behavior and often exaggerated behavior, which is not related to life and death situations at the time, but in the process, the brain releases feel-good opioid-like substances that help us gradually recover from stressful environments and strengthen social connections.

At the same time, many game behaviors are “seemed” mature, such as children playing at home, or cats pretending to pounce on a toy. It is believed that play can help humans develop the skills they need for mature behavior, and in short, games help us fill emotional resources and build social and practical skills to meet the challenges of the future.

Humor is the spiritual product of human and other high-level intelligent community organisms, humor often relies on benign irregularities – in a safe, “seems to be” environment to violate expectations. In other words, if something is called humorous, then its meaning and value will not be taken seriously. Humor shortens the distance we look at things, and sometimes they give us new perspectives, which means that we can use humor to examine and understand threatening perspectives, and by ignoring some of the scary situations, we can recover from stress and better prepare for the stress that will be dealt with.

Treating black humor as another form of game is a lesson we should learn, animals and humans play only when they feel safe, thieves don’t like to play crossword puzzles when burglars, and puppies don’t play when threatened. So, if you’re going to bring a dark sense of humor, you’ve got to choose the right time — when the people around you feel relatively safe, the threat won’t come right away.

Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neurology at University College London, specializes in sound, speech and laughter.

“By creating some black humor to bring laughter, you can relieve your stress and increase and maintain their connection with team members.” “

Laughter is a social group behavior, a way for human beings to establish and maintain social relationships, at the same time, laughter can relieve people’s mental stress, in the case of stress, we use laughter to regulate emotions. In fact, laughter is not unique to humans, and many mammals laugh. Humans can bring comic humor, and from a very early archaeological record, it has been found that humans know how to joke and create a happy atmosphere.

Some special literature focuses on black humor in specific situations, most of which focuses on stressful professions, such as medical personnel and law enforcement officers, who can relieve their stress and increase and maintain contact with team members by creating some black humor to bring laughter. This is a critical part of the workforce because they must maintain teamwork for these occupations. (Ye Ding Cheng)