European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 517–534 | Cite as

Teacher humor: longitudinal effects on students’ emotions

  • Sonja BiegEmail author
  • Robert Grassinger
  • Markus Dresel


Characteristics of teaching are associated with the emotions students experience in the classroom; however, empirical evidence regarding longitudinal effects is scarce. The present study investigated changes in positive and negative achievement emotions (enjoyment, boredom, and anger) vis-à-vis different teacher humor types (course-related, course-unrelated, self-disparaging, and aggressive), using the instructional humor processing theory and control-value theory of achievement emotions as a theoretical foundation. A total of 668 German upper track secondary school students from 41 classrooms with a mean age of 12.7 years (SD = 1.76) reported their perceptions of teacher humor and their experienced achievement emotions by completing online questionnaires (retest interval 6 months). Using the corresponding levels of emotions at the first measurement point as control values, results from multilevel analyses indicate that course-related humor weakens both decreases in enjoyment and increases in boredom and anger. Consistent with the hypotheses, aggressive humor leads to less enjoyment and more boredom and anger. Directions for future research are discussed and suggestions on how to best relate humor to course content are made.


Humor Emotional experience Longitudinal studies Questionnaires 



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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AugsburgAugsburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Education WeingartenWeingartenGermany

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