Individual and Hemispheric Differences in Affective and Humor Judgments
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A sense of humor involves both cognitive and emotional processes. The purpose of this study was to examine individual differences in emotion, cognition and humor. Participants (N = 50) completed two computerized tasks. One task was a hemifield presentation task designed to examine the participants’ schematic emotional processing system (Schaefer, 2003), where participants were asked to make forced-choice valence responses to humorous stimuli presented briefly in the right or left visual fields. The other task was designed to arouse the participants’ propositional emotional processing system and consisted of participants making humor ratings for the same pictures presented for an unlimited amount of time at central fixation. Participants also completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) (Davis, 1980) in order to determine whether cognitive and emotional indices of empathy were related to responding in either of the tasks. The valence data shows a relationship between forced choice judgments and the IRI Fantasy subscale. Gender differences were found for enjoyment of humor from reaction time and Likert scale data. In addition, females had higher scores in the Personal Distress subscale. From these results, we find an IRI subscale to correlate with an emotional hemispheric asymmetry model and questions arise in the variable speed of emotional processing for gender and ethnicity.