Are you a joker? A teaser? A clown?
By Louise Dobson, published on July 01, 2006 – last reviewed on March 25, 2013
In today’s personality stakes, nothing is more highly valued than a sense of humor. We seek it out in others and are proud to claim it in ourselves, perhaps even more than good looks or intelligence. If someone has a great sense of humor, we reason, it means that they are happy, socially confident and have a healthy perspective on life.
This attitude would have surprised the ancient Greeks, who believed humor to be essentially aggressive. And in fact, our admiration for the comedically gifted is relatively new, and not very well-founded, says Rod Martin, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario who studies the way people use humor. Being funny isn’t necessarily an indicator of good social skills and well-being, his research has shown—it may just as likely be a sign of personality flaws.