The Covid-19 Pandemic as an Opportunity for Positive Psychology to Promote a Wider-Ranging Definition of Humour and Laughter
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AbstractTraditionally, positive psychology (PP) considers humour as one of 24 character strengths and associates it with the core virtue of transcendence, a view perpetuated in Second Wave PP. We debate the need for a wider conceptualisation of humour and a more pragmatic recognition of its benefits and applications within the framework of Third Wave PP. Anecdotal and observational findings relating to the use of humour during the Covid-19 pandemic are considered. We draw on empirical research revealing the diverse benefits of humour and laughter in different cultural settings, including during lockdown. Using examples, including Covid-19 humour, we contend that the depiction of beneficial humour in PP is incomplete, for example, it relates not only to transcendence but to all six core virtues, and misleading as it may not necessarily relate to any. A more practical and broader depiction of humour within Third Wave PP would be helpful, including emphasising the potential of multiple character strengths to support humour development. In particular, we highlight the need for laughter, currently viewed as a by-product of humour within PP, to play a more prominent role. Widening the portrayal of humour and laughter in PP will be helpful to value and harness their individual, and joint, benefits and applications. In this chapter, we call for Third Wave PP to encourage new research directions by embracing the complexity of humour as 1) an interlinked character strength; 2) associated to all core virtues; 3) benefitting overall personal development; and 4) differentiated from but co-equal to laughter.
CitationGonot-Schoupinsky, F. and Garip, G., (2021). 'The Covid-19 Pandemic as an Opportunity for Positive Psychology to Promote a Wider-ranging Definition of Humour and Laughter'. In Vanderheiden, E., and Mayer, C., H. (Eds.). 'The Palgrave Handbook of Humour Research'. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 459-478.
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan/ Springer
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