Are aggressive cartoons really funnier? A replication

Stefan Stieger*, Anton K. Formann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article


Research has found that more aggressive cartoons are perceived as funnier. The current study (N = 106; 16 cartoons) examined this finding in more detail by additionally including painfulness and cleverness rankings of cartoons, and by examining possible moderating effects of different humor styles, self-esteem (explicit, implicit), and social desirability. Aggressive or painful cartoons were not perceived to be funnier, but were rated as having a cleverer punch line. Effects were only weakly correlated with participants’ humor styles, but were independent of self-esteem and social desirability. This suggests that aggressive cartoons are not in general perceived to be funnier than non-aggressive ones, and that there may be other moderators influencing this effect (e.g., the type of cartoons, definition of aggression and funniness, cultural aspects).

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Cartoon
  • Humor styles
  • Initial preference task
  • Self-esteem
  • Social desirability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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