Oh, so you think that's funny ...

by Shirley Connor, CBC News online

There's no such thing a good joke – or a bad one – concludes the doctoral thesis of Hugo Carretero Dios of Spain's Granada University.

His research found that the personality of the person hearing the joke was the key factor – not the joke itself. "Consequently, there are no universally good or bad jokes — humour depends on the person,” says Carretero Dios.

Nonetheless, his studies of 1,500 Spanish men and women between ages 18 and 80 did show some trends. Men and women over 45 laughed more at jokes that were degrading to women than those belittling men. But among 18- to 25-year-olds, women laughed more at anti-male jokes and their male counterparts preferred those picking on women.

According to Carretero Dios, “humour is useful to study the predominant values of a specific society, and is also a powerful instrument to show cultural trends (beliefs, actions, etc). We only need to remember the conflict caused by the Mohammed cartoons last year, in which humour clashed with religion.”