Monday, August 18, 2008

Humor and Dreaming

Genetic and Environmental Contributions to Humor Styles: A Replication Study

Philip Vernon, Rod Martin, Julie Aitken Schermer, Lynn Cherkas & Tim Spector
Twin Research and Human Genetics, February 2008, Pages 44-47

One thousand and seventy three pairs of adult monozygotic (MZ) twins and 895 pairs of same sex adult dizygotic (DZ) twins from the United Kingdom (UK) completed the Humor Styles Questionnaire: a 32-item measure which assesses two positive and two negative styles of humor. MZ correlations were approximately twice as large as DZ correlations for all four humor styles, and univariate behavioral genetic model fitting indicated that individual differences in all of them can be accounted for entirely by genetic and nonshared environmental factors, with heritabilities ranging from .34 to .49. These results, while perhaps not surprising, are somewhat at odds with a previous study that we conducted in North America (Vernon et al., in press) in which genetic factors contributed significantly to individual differences in the two positive humor styles, but contributed far less to the two negative styles, variance in which was instead largely due to shared and nonshared environmental factors. We suggest that differences between North American and UK citizens in their appreciation of different kinds of humor may be responsible for the different results obtained in these two


Dreams are more negative than real life: Implications for the function of

Katja Valli, Thea Strandholm, Lauri Sillanmki & Antti Revonsuo
Cognition & Emotion, August 2008, Pages 833-861

Dream content studies have revealed that dream experiences are negatively biased; negative dream contents are more frequent than corresponding positive dream contents. It is unclear, however, whether the bias is real or due to biased sampling, i.e., selective memory for intense negative emotions. The threat simulation theory (TST) claims that the negativity bias is real and reflects the evolved biological function of dreaming. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis of the TST that threatening events are overrepresented in dreams, i.e., more frequent and more severe in dreams than in real life. To control for biased sampling, we used as a baseline the corresponding negative events in real life rather than the corresponding
positive events in dreams. We collected dream reports (N=419) and daily event logs (N=490) from 39 university students during a two-week period, and interviewed them about real threat experiences retrievable from autobiographical memory (N=714). Threat experiences proved to be much more frequent and severe in dreams than in real life, and Current Dream Threats more closely resembled Past than Current Real Threats. We conclude that the TST's predictions hold, and that the negativity bias is real.

(Nod to KL)


Anonymous said...

You wouldn't happen to have access to this article, would you? I'm trying to get to it for a project.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I found it. If you haven't yet read it, you can read about it here:

Share the wealth and all that.