Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Randolph C. Arnau

Advisor Department



Humor is a multifaceted construct and can be defined in terms of the different ways people tend to use humor, which are referred to as humor styles. The present study examined the potential effects that the four different humor styles (Affiliative, Self-enhancing, Aggressive, and Self-defeating) have on other people’s perceptions of the individual producing the humor, and whether that impact was moderated by the attachment style of the individual perceiving the humorist. The goal was to investigate the interaction between the humor styles and physical attractiveness of a target in predicting how attractive a person is perceived and the degree to which others desire to become friends with, go on a date with, or marry the individual. One-hundred thirty-four female undergraduates viewed photographs of unattractive and attractive males. The photographs were accompanied with a description of the male’s humor style. Participants then used a Likert scale to rate physical attractiveness and her desire to become friends with, go on a date with, and marry the target. Participants also completed a measure of attachment style. Although all four styles were examined, the study was primarily focused on the effects of the self-defeating humor style. Compared to the relatively negative impact of self-defeating humor for less attractive targets, self-defeating humor used by highly attractive individuals enhances their desirability. This study did not find significant support for the similarity-attraction hypothesis. The results indicate that physical attraction plays a more vital role when insecure (anxious or avoidant) people select friends and romantic partners.

Included in

Psychology Commons