The psychology of jokes

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

The psychology of jokes

Each single action that a person takes even if it was as simple as telling a joke reflects his unconscious desires and psychological makeup.

Contrary to common beliefs jokes are not only told to make people laugh but they are told to help people satisfy some of their important psychological needs.

In a previous article i said that early memories (the childhood memories a person can recall) reflects his psychological goals to a great extent and jokes are no different!

You can know a lot about the psychology of a person by just knowing about the types of jokes he prefers or by listening to some of his jokes.

In this post i will tell you about the psychology of jokes.

Jokes and the person's psychological goals

During the Egyptian revolution that happened in 2011 a famous actor mispronounced few words in a TV interview. Few days later the video went viral and everyone was sharing it and laughing at it.

Now the important question is, why did that specific video become popular while many others that were funnier didn't become popular? Its because the lady was against the revolution (at least her way of talking made it seem so) and as a result the psychological need for revenge was developed among youth. When the lady made that mistake in the show the desire to take revenge fueled the efforts of the youth and the video became famous.

A friend of mine always sends dirty jokes and never ever sends normal ones. I always wondered why this guy never sends normal jokes and later on i discovered that he has doubts about his masculinity because of thinking that he is too short to be a real man.

In the Solid Self confidence program I said that your height should not have any effect on your self esteem and that self confidence has no connection to physical looks but for that specific friend his height made him believe that he is incomplete and as a result he started to compensate for this psychological need by telling dirty jokes in an attempt to appear more masculine!

Jokes and superiority

Many people tell jokes to feel superior to others. For example a normal looking girl could send a joke about blonds in order to feel good about herself. By devaluing a blond or saying that blonds are dumb those girl who have average looks feel good about themselves. (see also Self image problems)

In other words they are trying to say that they are smart or at least smarter than the dumb blonds. This is a possible explanation for the popularity of jokes that talk about blonds.

Finally the people of a certain nation can send jokes about the people of another nation in order to feel good about themselves. When the first group puts the second group down by making fun of them through a joke they feel more worthy. (see also Striving for superiority)

So just as you saw jokes carry hidden meanings and most people won't be consciously aware of those meanings until someone draws their attention to them.

The next time someone tells a joke keep an open eye for you can know a lot about him using this joke.

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