Seven decades after Hans Asperger's observations: A comprehensive study of humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Samson, Andrea C. ; Huber, Oswald ; Ruch, Willibald

In: Humor, 2013, vol. 26, no. 3, p. 441-460

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    The aim of the present study was to better understand humor in individuals with Asperger's syndrome. Therefore, various humor and laughter related phenomena were investigated by means of various standardized humor instruments. Forty individuals with AS and 113 controls filled out several self-report questionnaires and tests. The results revealed that individuals with AS scored significantly lower on trait cheerfulness and higher on trait seriousness (both describing the susceptibility to humor). Furthermore, they scored low on scales related to social communication (affiliative humor, humor entertainment) and portrayed a more socially cold humor style. In addition, individuals with AS scored low on mean-spirited humor, and used less adaptive (self-enhancing) and more maladaptive humor styles (self-defeating humor). Finally, they preferred incongruity-resolution humor, representing a more reality-oriented processing style. These findings add to previous studies on humor and expand the knowledge of components associated with successful humor appreciation