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A humor typology to identify humor styles used in sitcoms

MediaScience is the leading provider of lab-based audience research, incorporating a range of neuro-measures including biometrics, facial expression analysis, eye tracking, EEG, and more. With state-of-the-art labs in New York, Chicago, and Austin, MediaScience is discovering actionable insights in advertising, technology, media, and consumer trends.

Dr. Duane Varan, the global authority of neuromarketing research, founded Audience Labs (formerly the Interactive Television Research Institute) during his tenure at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, in 2001. In 2005, he launched the Beyond : 30 Project, a consortium exploring the changing media and advertising landscape, and in 2008, he was approached by Disney Media Networks to set up a dedicated custom research lab on a broader scale – and so MediaScience born. Though he officially left Murdoch in 2015, he continues to maintain some research links with the University of South Australia and has been widely recognised for his innovative contributions to teaching and the neuromarketing industry as evidenced by a long list of awards and over 90 published academic papers in his field.
Below is an abstract from one of his papers about a humor typology to identify humor styles used in sitcoms, from the International Journal of Humor Research.


The sitcom genre is one of the most enduringly popular, yet we still know surprisingly little about their specific elements.
This study aimed to develop a typology of humor techniques that best describe the components comprising the sitcom genre. New original techniques were added to applicable techniques from previous schemes to propose a sitcom-specific humor typology. This typology was tested with another coder for inter-coder reliability, and it was revealed the typology is theoretically sound, practically easy, and reliable. The typology was then used to code four well-known US sitcoms, with the finding that the techniques used aligned with the two most prominent theories of humor – superiority and incongruity.
Keywords: humor styles, sitcoms, humor theory, psychology of humor, humor typology.

Juckel, Jennifer & Bellman, Steven & Varan, Duane. (2016). A humor typology to identify humor styles used in sitcoms. HUMOR. 29. 10.1515/humor-2016-0047.

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