Functions of humor in conversation: Conceptualization and measurement

Elizabeth E. Graham, Michael J. Papa, Gordon P. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to explore humor from a functional perspective. Twenty‐four functions of humor were derived from prior literature. Items representing these 24 functions were subjected to factor analysis resulting in an 11‐item “Uses of Humor Index.”; Three primary factors emerged from this analysis: positive affect, expressiveness, and negative affect. Initial validation of the Uses of Humor Index was achieved via a peer evaluation, a measure of sense of humor, and assessment of interpersonal competence in naturalistic conversations. The implications of this study for future research concerning the use of humor in social interaction and the influence of humor on perceptions of interpersonal competence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-183
Number of pages23
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992


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