Three Decades Investigating Humor and Laughter: An Interview With Professor Rod Martin

Rod Martin, Nicholas A. Kuiper

Abstract


Since the start of the 21st century, the investigation of various psychological aspects of humor and laughter has become an increasingly prominent topic of research. This growth can be attributed, in no small part, to the pioneering and creative work on humor and laughter conducted by Professor Rod Martin. Dr. Martin’s research interests in humor and laughter began in the early 1980s and continued throughout his 32 year long career as a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Western Ontario. During this time, Dr. Martin published numerous scholarly articles, chapters, and books on psychological aspects of humor and laughter. Professor Martin has just retired in July 2016, and in the present interview he recounts a number of research highlights of his illustrious career. Dr. Martin’s earliest influential work, conducted while he was still in graduate school, stemmed from an individual difference perspective that focused on the beneficial effects of sense of humor on psychological well-being. This research focus remained evident in many of Professor Martin’s subsequent investigations, but became increasingly refined as he developed several measures of different components of sense of humor, including both adaptive and maladaptive humor styles. In this interview, Dr. Martin describes the conceptualization, development and use of the Humor Styles Questionnaire, along with suggestions for future research and development. In doing so, he also discusses the three main components of humor (i.e., cognitive, emotional and interpersonal), as well as the distinctions and similarities between humor and laughter. Further highlights of this interview include Professor Martin’s comments on such diverse issues as the genetic versus environmental loadings for sense of humor, the multifaceted nature of the construct of humor, and the possible limitations of teaching individuals to use humor in a beneficial manner to cope with stress and enhance their social and interpersonal relationships.

Keywords


humor; personality; stress; humor styles

Full Text: PDF HTML

https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.v12i3.1119

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