Sar-El and colleagues (2013) discovered associations between attachment styles and humor. Their findings based on two different studies indicate that a person’s use of humor can be predicated by a person’s attachment style. Sar-El and colleagues found that individuals with more insecure attachment styles did not appreciate social humor compared to individuals without an insecure attachment style (Sar-El, et.al, 2013). Their general findings are summarized below:
- Participants scoring higher on attachment anxiety scored lower on humor generation, social humor (using humor in social situations), and using humor to handle stress in their life
- They scored higher on self-defeating humor style, and held ambivalent feelings toward humoreliciting situations.
- Participants who scored higher on avoidant attachment scored lower on humor appreciation, social humor style, and the use of humor in close relationships, and held a more aversive experience of humor-eliciting situations.
I believe that Mead’s theory about perspective playing and its role in the development of the self mirrors the development of a person’s humor. Mead states that a very important factor in the development of social cognition is the development of a person’s ability to understand other people’s perspectives and emotions in order to properly communicate and connect with other people (Brown, 1998).
While Sar-El and colleagues discuss several different types of humor, the type that I believe is more relevant to the notion of self-development is relevant to the type of a person’s social humor (Brown, 1998). Social humor is humor that is used to amuse other people and facilitate social interactions (Sar-El, et.al, 2013).
In order to use social humor a person has to be able to take the perspective of others to have an idea of how other people will react to their humor. Therefore, the development of humor is related to the development of the self and the ability to take on the perspectives of other people.
Ultimately, I find these findings fascinating because it reveals how integrated a person’s personality, habits, and character traits really are. I believe that all parts of a person and his or her development of the self are interlinked and more studies can uncover these correlations.
So, what do you think? Do you think your or other people’s style of humor is at all related to how you connect with other people (you attachment style)?
Sar-El, D., Mikulincer, M., & Doron, G. (2013). Attachment orientations and individual differences in humor. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 32(1), 34-53.