Publication: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticles for encyclopediaResearch


In general, humor is defined as the quality of acting, perceiving, or thinking that excites amusement, jocularity, comicality, or fun. This quality is further characterized by a gap, or ‘nonserious social incongruity,’ between the socially adequate and expected outcome in a given situation and the actual outcome. The experience of this gap and its resolution is typically associated with positive affect. Components of humor are (1) the social context, (2) cognitive processes, (3) affective responses, (4) vocal-behavioral expressions, and (5) the associated structure of personality. Related research has particularly examined the psycho-social functions of humor: (1) cognitive/social benefits of humor or mirth, (2) roles of humor in social dynamics, and (3) benefits of humor for coping processes. In the area of sports, beyond some anecdotal reports about the role and different manifestations of humor, systematic research on humor is scarce. Of the three previously described psycho-social functions of humor, it is primarily the role of humor in social settings or group dynamics that has been examined (e.g., humor as a part of communication, humor as a style in leadership, humor and social identity). In contrast, a lack of understanding remains regarding the relationship between humor and cognitive processes in sport (improvement of creativity, problem-solving, and planning), and the role of humor for coping processes (enhancement of emotional regulation and selfregulation).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDictionary of Sport Psychology : Sport, Exercise, and Performing Arts
EditorsDieter Hackfort, Robert J. Schinke, Bernd Strauss
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAcademic press
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-813150-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-12-813151-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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