What do you do when asked to answer humorously?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


250 12th-grade and male Jewish and Arab students were given a modified version of the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study. They were asked to answer this questionnaire twice: (a) ordinarily (as if they were present in the situation) and (b) humorously (as amusingly as possible). When ordinary and humorous answers were compared, it was found that humorous answers contained more expressions of high aggression and fantasy denials. Ordinary answers contained low aggression and rational denials. Humorous answers manifested the use of special techniques as specified by Freud: displacement, representation by the opposite, play on words, absurdity, and fantasy. Results show that Ss applied clear rules when answering with humor. They used more aggression, more sex, and more fantasy and they used Freud's techniques as if they had read his writings. Results are discussed by contrasting incongruity explanations with motivational explanations. Results do not support Freud's cathartic hypothesis. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1983


  • Arab students, Israel
  • use of Freudian techniques in construction of humorous questionnaire answers, 12th grade male Jewish &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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