Despite its long history in communication, scholars continue to debate whether humor enhances or undermines persuasive attempts. To better understand the contingencies of humor effects, we conducted a meta-analysis of 89 studies across the various fields in which humor has been researched over time. Overall, humor has a weak and significant effect on persuasion (r =.13). Further, results indicate that humor has a moderate-level influence on knowledge (r =.23) and only a weak impact on attitudes (r =.12) and behavioral intent (r =.09). The analysis supports the dual-processing nature of humorous messages, with related-humor being more effective for highlyinvolved individuals. Finally, while the analysis did not support the humor sleepereffect prediction, the results revealed an inverted U-shaped effect of humor intensity on persuasion.
- Media effects
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language