Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
Perhaps the reason comedians make us laugh is because they show high levels of psychotic traits, suggests new research from the University of Oxford in the UK.
They also score high on introverted and extroverted personality traits, say the researchers.
Writing in the latest online issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers explain how the popular belief that creativity is linked to madness has led to many studies, yet despite comedy being a prime example of creativity, little research has been done specifically on comedy and humor.
Co-author Gordon Claridge, Emeritus Professor of Abnormal Psychology at Oxford's department of Experimental Psychology, describes what they found:
But while schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor, its lesser form can help people "think outside the box" and associate ideas in odd or unusual ways, he explains, and adds:
"Equally, manic thinking, which is common in people with bipolar disorder, may help people combine ideas to form new, original and humorous connections."
For their study, Prof. Claridge and colleagues invited 523 comedians, mainly from the UK, US and Australia - 404 men and 119 women - to fill in an online questionnaire used to assess psychotic traits in healthy people.
The assessment measures four aspects of psychosis:
Prof. Claridge explains that the traits are termed "psychotic" because they "represent healthy equivalents of features such as moodiness, social introversion and the tendency to lateral thinking."
He and his colleagues also invited two other groups to fill in the questionnaire: a group of 364 actors (another group used to performing before an audience), and a general group of 831 people in non-creative professions.
When they analyzed the responses from all the participants, the researchers found that, compared with the general group, the comedians had much higher scores in all four psychotic traits.
And unusually, the comedians had high scores for extroverted personality traits (assessed from their responses on the Impulsive Non-Conformity scale) and introverted personality traits (assessed by the Introvertive Anhedonia scale).
The actors also showed marked differences to the general group - they scored higher on three of the scales, but did not show high levels of introverted personality traits.
Prof. Claridge says:
"Our study shows that, as creative people, comedians rate highly on the same personality traits as those regularly observed in other creative individuals."
Meanwhile, another study reported in October 2013 suggests we have reason to be grateful for the skill of comedians, as a team of Swiss researchers found that laughter and humor can increase pain tolerance and improve quality of life.
Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
Psychotic traits in comedians; Victoria Ando, Gordon Claridge, and Ken Clark; British Journal of Psychiatry, online 16 January 2014; DOI:10.1192/bjp.bp.113.134569; Abstract.
Additional source: University of Oxford press release 17 January 2014.
Visit our Psychology / Psychiatry category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Paddock, Catharine. "Comedians score high on psychotic traits." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 17 Jan. 2014. Web.
23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271353>
Paddock, C. (2014, January 17). "Comedians score high on psychotic traits." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271353.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.