Dissecting a frog: a meta-Analytic evaluation of humor intensity in persuasion research

Camille J. Saucier*, Nathan Walter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


After decades of study, much of what comprises ‘funny’ content remains subjective. A meta-analysis of 80 experimental humor manipulations sought to identify what makes a stimulus funny by focusing on its content, audience, and research design. Results suggest that content which draws upon theoretically grounded techniques like surprise, tension relief, and superiority leads to stronger effects on perceived humor. Study design features such as the message modality and scale type also significantly influence perceptions of humor. This evidence suggests that methodology plays a key role in explaining the variance in perceived humor. The process of conducting this synthesis revealed the need for more widespread stimuli testing to confirm whether messages designed to elicit humor are indeed interpreted as such.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-283
Number of pages26
JournalAnnals of the International Communication Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Meta-Analysis
  • humor
  • media effects
  • message design
  • persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Dissecting a frog: a meta-Analytic evaluation of humor intensity in persuasion research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this