Humor and Learning in the Workplace

  • Tabea ScheelEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)


This chapter presents benefits and drawbacks of using humor in learning/for teaching and training. We introduce two theories about humor and learning, namely the Instructional Humor Processing Theory and the Perceived Humor Hypotheses. Among the consequences of humor in instruction are cognitive, social, as well as motivational and affective ones: Humor may enhance learning if tied to the course content, humor may increase teachers’ immediacy and the presenters’ likability, and humor may foster positive affect and thus motivation. However, it may reduce the perceived credibility of the presenter and does not necessarily improve effectiveness or performance. Also, the use of humor interacts with personality. We present findings about the mode of presentation, that is, about the use of humor in textbooks, tests, and online instruction. Research in school/university settings serves as the basis and nearly the only setting of previous research; we discuss the limited research on instruction in work contexts. Future research avenues as well as recommendations for practical use close this chapter. For instance, techniques recommended for teaching students (e.g., smile, relate humor to important information) can be applied to trainings or instruction in the work context.


Learning Instructional Humor Processing Theory Memory Creativity Immediacy Credibility Motivation Affect Textbooks Online classrooms 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Work and Organizational PsychologyFernUniversitaet in HagenHagenGermany

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