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Topics: Old age, Gerontology, Middle age Pages: 19 (5134 words) Published: August 29, 2014


Content Page
IntroductionP 1
Definition: HumorP 1
Different types of humorP 3
Styles of humor P 4
AffiliativehumorP 4
Self-enhancing humor P 4
Aggressive humorP 5
Self-defeating humor P 5
Authentic humorP 5
Humor process P 6
Psychological perspective P 6
Theories of humorP 7
Biological theories: HumorP 7
Superiority theories P 7
Release theoriesP 7
Incongruity theories P8
Psychoanalytical theoriesP 8
Reversal TheoriesP 8
Research in humorP 9
Defining: Aging and older adults P 9
Older adultsP10
Theories of agingP11
Psychosociological theoriesP11
Biological theories: Aging P12
The function of humor P12
Psychological functions P13
Physical functions P14
Social functions P14
Humor and the older adult P14
Conclusion P16

Introduction:
The aim of this text is to explore, analyse, explain and review the critical points of current and past knowledge including important and meaningful findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to humor with regards to aging focussing particularly on the older adults. The central question in this study is “what is the function of humor in the day to day lives of the elderly/ older adults”? The aim is to understand humor from the perspective of the elderly individual. The aim of the research therefore tends itself to qualitative research. Not many qualitative studies has been done on humor and its effect on aging /aging adults, but the few qualitative studies that have been done provides interesting findings on the effects of humor (Olsson et a 2002) on older adults, how they view humor (Herth; 1993) and the different humor styles which are more likely to use (Damianakis and Marziali; 2011). Because only a limited amount of qualitative studies have investigated humor in older adults, this review will make use of relevant quantitative studies in order to get a broader and greater understanding of humor in the lives of older adults. The review will start with definitions of humor which will then be followed by definitions of ageing and older adults, theories of ageing/ older adults and then relevant studies. The review will also include a brief descriptive phenomological understanding and finally end with the link between humor and older adults followed by a brief conclusion. Definition: Humor

Every day we hear about humour, or a good or bad sense of humour, but what does humor really mean and where does the term come from. According to McGhere (1979); the term humor has its origin in the Latin word, meaning fluid or moisture. According to the ancient, medieval and renaissance physiology there were four basic bodily humors or fluids, namely; yellow bile,black bile, blood and phlegm. The four humors were assumed to play a major role in determining a person’s temperament, mood or general disposition (McGhere: 1979). A person in whom the four humors were in a correct balance came to be thought of as being in “good humor” whereas a person with any kind of in-balance was said to be “out of P1

humor” or not himself. It is also important to note that humor means different things to different people. The Oxford English Dictionary defines humor as the quality of action, speech or writing which excites amusement, it goes further stating that it is the “quality of being amusing”, “a state of mind” (Soanes, Hawker & Elliott; 2005, p105). According to Damianakis and Marziali (2010) humor is a universal aspect of human nature and is largely influenced by cultural context. In the case of older adults humour is viewed as a mark of having achieved strength and maturity...
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