An investigation in the phenomenon of humour

23 Mar 2015

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Humor is a universal phenomenon which shows in the tribal and industrialized societies (Apte, 1985). In the Oxford English Dictionary, humor is defined as "that quality of actions, speech, or writing which excites amusement; oddity, jocularity, facetiousness, comicality, fun" (Simpson & Weiner, 1989). From the psychology perspective, "humor is stated as a cognitive, emotional and motivational stance toward incongruity, as inherent in funny artifacts, but also in inadvertently amusing situation, our fellow behaviour and attitudes, in fate and life and human nature and existence in general" (Ruch, 2002). The term "sense of humor" will be more specific which refer to a personality trait or individual-differences variable (Ruch, 1998). In addition, Schmidt-Hidding (1963) and Ruch (1998) pointed out that humor has changed rapidly throughout history and during different epochs which has been viewed as predominant mood, talent virtue, style, philosophical attitude or world view. According to Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray and Weir (2003), " the different facets of sense of humour lend themselves to different measurement approaches, including maximal performance tests (eg. Humour as cognitive ability), funniest ratings (eg. Humour as aesthetic response), observer ratings and self-reported scale." Furthermore, Tamaoka & Takashima (1994) stated that humor actually is grounded in a cultural and social context as understanding humor should requires some knowledge of the language which humor was written.

From past research, humor is often to be tested in different dimensions which include how it deals with stress and depression (Thornson, Powell, Sarmany-Schuller & Hampes, 1997). Lefcourt (2001) stated that people with great sense of humor are easily get well with others, have better ability to cope with stress and also have a better mental and physical health. Martin (2000) explained that humor has become a broad and multi-faceted construct in current psychological research which refers to mental processing in creating, perceiving, understanding and appreciating humor, to characteristics of a stimulus or to the responses of the individual.

Nowadays, there are lots of approaches to measure humor, which includes the self-report scales, ability tests, behavioural observation techniques and human appreciation measures. Among all the measurements, there are a few well-known measurements which are frequently used by researchers in their studies. These measurements include Coping Humor Scale (CHS; Matin & Lefcourt, 1983), Situational Humor Response Questionnaire (SHRQ; Matin & Lefcourt, 1984), The Sense of Humor Questionnaire (SHQ; Svebak, 1974), Multidimensional Sense of Humor (MHSH; Thorson & Powell, 1993), and Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ; Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Gray & Weir, 2003).

Coping Humor Scale was a 7 items scale which designed to report individuals on the humor in coping with stress and the association between sense of humor and both mental and physical health. Besides that, Coping Humour Scale inquires participants used humour to alter difficult situation (Ruch, 1998). Following that, Situational Humor Response Questionnaire was a 21 items scale which has been used in research on sense of humor as a stress-moderator and also the association between sense of humor and both mental and physical health. Thorson (1990) critic SHRQ is a measurement that defines sense of humor purely in terms of laughter frequency. Kuiper and Martin (1993) stated that individuals who score higher marks in both the Coping humour Scale and Situational Humour Response Questionnaire had "higher level of self esteem, less discrepancy between their actual and ideal self-concepts, and greater stability in their self concepts over time."

Sense of Humor Questionnaire was a 21 items measured with 3 dimensions (Metamessage sensitivity, liking of humor, and emotional expressiveness. SHQ used for investigating relationship between sense of humor and other personality dimensions as well as measures of psychological and physical health and well being. Then, Multidimensional Sense of Humor Scale was a 24 items scale with 4 factors (humor creativity and uses of humor for social purposes, uses of coping humor, appreciation of humorous people and appreciation of humor) comparing groups on sense of humor for determining correlates between sense of humor and other personality variables. Humor Styles Questionnaire was a 32 items scale which used to measure 4 humor styles (affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive and self-defending) in accessing both positive and negative styles of humor in correlational research on the role of humor in psychological and physical health, etc.

Lefcourt (2001) described that humor has always been found to occur in everyone across many different cultures around the world. Three different categories of research area in cross cultural differences or national differences in humor were suggested by Goldstein (1976): cross cultural comparisons, cross national replications, and intracultural research of Western and non-Western cultures. Other than that, Nevo, Nevo & Yin (2001) stated that cross cultural studies are valuable because they help assess the generality of empirical phenomena and highlights the effects of specific cultural influences which show in Castell and Goldstein (1976) research. They compared different culture group like Belgium, Hong Kong and US, and found out that US unlike others nations, they preferred jokes which related to sexual and aggressive content. In addition, humor tends to be interpreting in different way by various cultures which results of cultural and linguistics differences (Thorson, Brdar and Powell, 1997). Besides that, Hofstede (1983) found out that cultures could be differentiated on two dimensions: "individualism-collectivism" and"power-distance". There are several studies using Multidimensional Sense of Humor to measures humor in cultural differences with the finding which culture score higher in creativity. In Nevo, Nevo & Yin (2001) studies, there is a significant cross cultural difference found in the structured questionnaires was the tendency of Singaporean students to rely less on humor when coping with difficulty which concludes (Crawford & Gressley, 1991) that they are tendency to produce humor rather than to appreciate it.

The relationship of humor and gender are being discussed over year and year. According to Lampert & Tripp (1998), men are more likely to joke, tease and kid, whereas women are more likely to act as an appreciative audience than to produce humor of their own. Powell, Sarmany-Schuller and Hampes (1997) stated that there are pretty much gender neutral in using the MSHS questionnaire, however, there are still some differences between male and women in the sense of humor. A past research which done by Thorson and Powell (1996) using the MSHS questionnaires showing that males tended to respond with higher score on the humor production and the social uses of humor, while woman respond with higher score in the coping mechanism. The study of Ho & Chik (2010) have examines there is a gender differences in association with the moderating effects of coping humor on environmental mastery.

The present study is interested in investigating the humour responses in both Malaysian and British cultures, cross gender comparison and also the interaction between the culture differences and the gender in humour. There are few studies in humour using Western countries culture like British, Canadian and Eastern countries culture such as Singaporean, Hong Konger and Japanese but they aren't studies done on Malaysian humour. There wasn't any research have been done between Malaysian and British but there were researches done between western and eastern culture which the hypothesis was made accordingly to the results done by previous cultural studies. In the support of the past research, two hypotheses were made for this study. The first hypothesis were that male participants will be more humorous than female which based on the finding of past research like Thornson &Powell (1996) which shows men will score higher in the humour production and humour creativity of Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale. Additionally, the second hypothesis was British tend to be funnier, hilarious comparing to Malaysian due to the cultural differences. Acordingly to the studies of humour in most of the eastern culture showed that they are not humourous as western cultures because of their own cultural bias.

Method

Participants

There were 100 participants (28 female Malaysian, 28 male Malaysian, 22 female British, 22 male British) were recruited for this study. 75% of British and Malaysian participants were recruited Middlesex University and Malaysia, the remaining 25% were recruited through email within Middlesex database and Malaysia's friends. All the participants were required to respond to a demographic form and 4 sets of questionnaires (Coping Humour Scale, Situational Humour Response Questionnaire, Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale, Humour Scale Questionnaire). For this experiment, participants were between 16 to 57 years of age, the average mean of the age was 24.44 (SD= 6.76). All of them were English literate, able to do their questionnaire without others help.

Design

The present study carried out had an independent groups design. There were two independent variables which the first independent variable was the nationality of the participants and the second independent variable was the gender of the participants. The dependant variables are participants' humour responses, which measured through 4 sets of questionnaires. These dependent variables include the Coping Humour Scale questionnaires, Situational Humour Responses Questionnaires, the affiliative humour, self-enhancing humour, aggressive humour and self-defeating humour of Humour Scale Questionnaires, the humour creativity, coping humour, attitude towards humorous people and facility of social uses of humour of Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale.

Materials

Participants are required to complete a demographical form with few questions, eg.Gender, nationality, age etc. (appendix 3) and 4 sets of Humour questionnaires which they were Coping Humour Scale (appendix 4), Situational Humour Response Questionnaire (appendix 5), Multidimensional Sense of Humour (appendix 6), and Humour Styles Questionnaire (appendix 7).

The Coping Humour Scale (CHS; Martin & Lefcourt, 1983) is a 7-item scale which designed to measure participants' tendency to make use of humour as a strategy for coping with stress and also the association between sense of humor and both mental and physical health. The CHS (Coping Humour Scale) is a 4-point Likert scale which ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (4). Eg 1. extract from appendix 4

Strongly disagree

Mildly disagree

Mildly agree

Strongly agree

1. I often lose my sense of humour when I

am having problems.

2. I have often found that my problems

have been greatly reduced when I try to

find something funny in them.

Example 1

The Situational Humour Response Questionnaire (SHRQ; Martin & Lefcourt, 1984) is designed to assess participants' sense of humour as the tendency to laugh and smile in a wide range of situations. The SHRQ includes 18 situational items that describe a possible life situation. Participants were asked to respond to the situation by imaging or recalling it, which they could be as irritating or they might be amusing. These questionnaires will be rated in a 5-point Guttman-type scale ranging from I wouldn't have found it particularly amusing (1) to I would have laughed heartily (5) (Martin 2006). Besides that, Martin (2006) also explain that the "SHRQ correlated significantly with peer ratings of participants' laughter, and tendency to use humour in stressful situations" .

Eg 2. Extract from appendix 5.

1. If you were shopping by yourself in a distant city and you unexpectedly saw an acquaintance from school (or work), how have you responded or how would you respond?

(a.) I would probably not have bothered to speak to the person

(b.)I would have talked to the person but wouldn't have shown much humor

(c.) I would have found something to smile about in talking with him or her

(d.)I would have found something to laugh about with this person

(e.) I would have laughed heartily with the person

Example 2

Humour Style Questionnaires (HSQ; Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Gray & Weir, 2003) is a 32 items scale which consists of 4 humour style (each humour style contains of 8 items). The four humour style includes affiliative humour ( I enjoy making people laugh), self-enhancing humour (If I am feeling depressed, I can usually cheer myself up with humour), aggressive humour (if someone make mistake, I will often tease them about it) and finally the self-defeating humour (I let people laugh at me or make fun at my expense more than I should). Humour Style Questionnaires consists of 21 positively- phrased item and 11 negatively-phrased items which the 11 negatively-phrased items will be reversed in scoring. All questions are answered by participants on a seven-point scale ranging from totally disagree (1) to totally agree (7).

Eg 4. Extract from appendix 7

Totally Disagree = 1

Moderately Disagree = 2

Slightly Disagree = 3

Neither Agree nor Disagree = 4

Slightly Agree = 5

Moderately Agree = 6

Totally Agree = 7

1. ______ I usually don't laugh or joke around much with other people.

2. ______ If I am feeling depressed, I can usually cheer myself up with humor.

Example 4

The Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale (MHSH; Thorson & Powell, 1993) contains 24 self descriptive Likert item testing for the four factors which assess individual aspects of the sense of humour. These four factors includes humour creativity (sometimes I think up jokes and funny stories), use of humour as a coping mechanism (Uses of humour help to put me at ease), attitudes towards humour itself (people who tell jokes are a pain in the neck) and appreciation of humour (I appreciate those who generate humour). Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale consist of 18 positively- phrased item and 6 negatively-phrased item. The 6 negatively-phrased items are reversed in scoring. In this questionnaire, participants with higer scores indicate higher sense of humour (Thorson, Powell and Samuel, 2001). Participants were required to indicate their choices on every question on a Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).

Eg3.extract from appendix 6

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

1. I can often crack people up with the things I say.

1

2

3

4

5

2. Other people tell me that I say funny things.

1

2

3

4

5

Example 3

Procedure

Participants were invited to participant in the study as they will be given an information sheet (appendix 1) which explained about the study. After finished reading the information sheet, they will be given the informed consent form (appendix 2) to sign if they willing to participate the experiment. After signing the consent form, they will require to fill in the demographic form (appendix 3) which consists of gender, age, nationality etc. Then, four sets of questionnaires which include the Multidimensional Sense of Humour Questionnaire, Humour Styles Questionnaire, Coping Humour Scale and Situational Humour Response Questionnaire will be given to them to fill in. After finishing all the questionnaires, participants were given a debriefing sheet (Appendix 8) and dismissed from the study.

For participants recruited through email, they had also received the information sheet by email before they agreed to do the experiment. Then, they will receive a consent form to sign and together with the demographic form and four sets of questionnaires to fill in. After finished filling in all the answer, the consent form, demographic form and four sets of questionnaires will be given back through email. After receiving the questionnaires set, a debriefing sheet will be emailed to them.

Results

Descriptive statistics

The means and standard deviations (S.D) for each of the measures are shown in table one to table two, by splitting gender (male, female) and nationality (British, Malaysian) respectively. From the table 1 shown below, British male had higher mean than Malaysian Male in all of the measures except Coping Humour scale. In the other hand, Malaysian female had higher mean compare to the British Female except Multidimensional sense of Humour Sense which shown in table 2.

To be more specified, descriptive tables for both four subscale of Humour Style Questionnaires and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale are shown in table three to table six.

The Mean and Standard Deviation (S.D) of the dependent variables of Male Participants (50) were shown below as table 1.

British Male

Sample size = 22

Malaysian Male sample size= 28

Total

Sample size =50

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Coping Humour Scale

2.89

0.43

2.96

0.40

Situational Humour Response Questionnaire

2.70

0.62

2.47

0.45

Humour Style Questionnaire

5.44

4.33

4.09

0.50

Multidimensional sense of Humour Sense

4.01

3.17

3.22

0.24

Table 1

The Mean and Standard Deviation (S.D) of the dependent variables of Female Participants (50) were shown below as table 2.

British Female

Sample size = 22

Malaysian Female sample size= 28

Total

Sample size =50

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Coping Humour Scale

2.60

0.37

2.90

0.32

Situational Humour Response Questionnaire

2.34

0.43

2.46

0.39

Humor Style Questionnaire

4.05

0.46

4.09

0.67

Multidimensional sense of Humour Sense

3.30

0.29

3.16

0.26

Table 2

The Mean and Standard Deviation (S.D) of the Humour Style Questionnaire's sub-factors (dependent variables) of Female Participants (50) were shown below as table 3.

Humor Style Questionnaire

British Male

Sample size = 22

Malaysian Male sample size= 28

Total

Sample size =50

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Affiliative humour (HSQ)

5.41

1.23

5.18

0.79

5.29

1.00

Self-enhancing humour (HSQ)

4.70

1.10

4.00

0.89

4.28

1.04

Aggressive humour (HSQ)

3.50

1.04

3.50

0.68

3.49

0.85

Self-defeating humour (HSQ)

3.75

1.03

3.73

0.86

3.74

0.93

Table 3

The Mean and Standard Deviation (S.D) of the Humour Style Questionnaire's sub-factors (dependent variables) of Female Participants (50) were shown below as table 4.

Humor Style Questionnaire

British Female

Sample size = 22

Malaysian Female sample size= 28

Total

Sample size =50

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Affiliative humour (HSQ)

5.58

0.96

5.28

0.82

5.41

0.89

Self-enhancing humour (HSQ)

4.05

0.82

3.88

0.77

4.00

0.79

Aggressive humour (HSQ)

3.55

0.83

3.47

0.71

3.50

0.76

Self-defeating humour (HSQ)

3.03

0.90

3.72

1.05

3.42

1.04

Table 4

The Mean and Standard Deviation (S.D) of the Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale Questionnaire's sub-factors (dependent variables) of Male Participants (50) were shown below as table 5.

Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale

British Male

Sample size = 22

Malaysian Male sample size= 28

Total

Sample size=50

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Humour creativity

3.48

0.94

3.49

0.61

3.46

0.76

Coping humour

3.63

0.48

3.62

0.51

3.62

0.49

Attitude towards humorous people

3.89

0.65

3.91

0.55

3.90

0.59

Appreciation of humour

4.25

0.65

4.29

0.63

4.27

0.63

Table 5

The Mean and Standard Deviation (S.D) of the Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale Questionnaire's sub-factors (dependent variables) of Female Participants (50) were shown below as table 6.

Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale

British Females

Sample size = 22

Malaysian Females

sample size= 28

Total

Sample size= 50

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Mean

S.D

Humour creativity

3.36

0.61

3.32

0.76

3.29

0.70

Coping humour

3.56

0.67

3.53

0.43

3.54

0.54

Attitude towards humorous people

4.31

0.63

3.95

0.72

4.11

0.70

Appreciation of humour

4.57

0.44

4.52

0.59

4.54

0.52

Table 6

Factor Analysis

Factor analysis was carried out in order to test the validity of the sub-scales in two measures (Humour Style Questionnaires and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale). It was expected that the four factors of each measure would emerge from this analysis. Both Humour Style Questionnaires and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale used Principal Component Analysis (PCA) as the analysis. Table seven and table eight showed both of the results of the PCA of Humour Style Questionnaires and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale using the Varimax rotation and Kaiser-Meyer-Oblin test. The results showed that the expected factors loading in previous studies did not emerge from the current sample.

For the Humour Style Questionnaires, five items (questions 6, 22, 26, 27, 28) load in different factors comparing to Martin's (2003) original questionnaires, which looks a bit confusing. In addition, four items (questions 7, 13, 16, 30) did not load significantly (at above .3), therefore, there were excluded from the tables 7.

For the Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale, table 8 showed messy values load in each factors. Two factors can not be identified due to the messy items comparing with Thornson& Powells' (1993) original scale. Only one item did not load significantly (at above .3) on any factors.

The overall results of the factor analysis were not satisfied, because the analysis came out in a mess. One of the reasons which contribute the following table 7 and table 8 might because of the small sample size (100) comparing with the large sample size (>1000) in Martin's (2003) and Thornson& Powells' (1993) studies. Therefore, the following reliability test and ANOVA will adopt past research's scale.

Table 7: Factor loadings of the 32 items of Humour Style Questionnaires (Principal Componenet Analysis using Varimax Rotation, N=100)

Items

Factor 1

Factor 2

Factor 3

Factor 4

I usually don't like to tell jokes or amuse people.

.765

I don't often joke around with my friends.

.711

I usually don't laugh or joke around much with other people.

.654

I enjoy making people laugh.

.650

I usually cant think of witty things to say when I' m with other people.

.640

Even when I'm by myself, I'm often amused by the absurdities of life.

.564

I rarely make other people laugh by telling funny stories about myself.

.557

I don't have to work very hard at making other people laugh -- I seem to be a naturally humorous person.

.468

I often go overboard in putting myself down when I am making jokes or trying to be funny

.767

Letting others laugh at me is my way of keeping my friends and family in good spirits.

.716

I often try to make people like or accept me more by saying something funny about my own weaknesses, blunders, or faults.

.618

I will often get carried away in putting myself down if it makes my family or friends laugh.

.598

If I don't like someone, I often use humor or teasing to put them down

.554

I let people laugh at me or make fun at my expense more than I should

.517

When I am with friends or family, I often seem to be the one that other people make fun of or joke about.

.479

It is my experience that thinking about some amusing aspect of a situation is often a very effective way of coping with problems.

.391

-.311

If I am feeling upset or unhappy I usually try to think of something funny about the situation to make myself feel better.

.775

If I'm by myself and I'm feeling unhappy, I make an effort to think of something funny to cheer myself up.

.755

If I am feeling depressed, I can usually cheer myself up with humor.

.703

My humorous outlook on life keeps me from getting overly upset or depressed about things.

.357

.322

.360

If I am having problems or feeling unhappy, I often cover it up by joking around, so that even my closest friends don't know how I really feel.

.344

I do not like it when people use humor as a way of criticizing or putting someone down.

.654

If I am feeling sad or upset, I usually lose my sense of humor.

.393

.579

Even if something is really funny to me, I will not laugh or joke about it if someone will be offended

.506

If someone makes a mistake, I will often tease them about it.

.487

Sometimes I think of something that is so funny that I can't stop myself from saying it, even if it is not appropriate for the situation.

.443

I never participate in laughing at others even if all my friends are doing it.

-.334

.336

Eigenvalue

4.73

3.21

2.41

2.02

% of Variance

14.80

10.04

7.53

6.34

* Only Coefficient above .3 were shown

Table 8: Factor loadings of the 24 items of Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale (Principal Componenet Analysis using Varimax Rotation, N=100)

Items

Factor 1

Factor 2

Factor 3

Factor 4

I can say things in such a way as to make people laugh.

.837

Other people tell me that I say funny things.

.825

I'm confident that I can make other people laugh

.793

My clever sayings amuse others.

.785

I use humour to entertain my friends

.779

I'm regarded as something of a wit by my friends.

.779

People look to me to say amusing things

.773

I can often crack people up with the things I say.

.755

Sometimes I think up jokes or funny stories

.699

I can actually have some control over a group by my uses of humour

.643

.324

I can use wit to help adapt to many situations.

.545

.337

Trying to master situations through uses of humour is really dumb.

.704

.333

Humour is a lousy coping mechanism

.697

Calling somebody a "comedian" is a real insult.

.695

I like a good joke

.592

People who tell jokes are a pain in the neck.

.581

Humour helps me cope

.814

Uses of wit or humour help me master difficult situations

.798

Coping by using humour is an elegant way of adapting.

.750

I appreciate those who generate humour

.774

Uses of humour to put me at ease.

.523

.641

I dislike comics

.566

I'm uncomfortable when everyone is cracking jokes

.372

.447

Eigenvalue

6.67

3.41

2.26

1.13

% of Variance

27.82

14.19

9.40

5.61

* Only Coefficient above .3 were shown

Reliability Test

The internal consistencies (Cronbach Alpha) were run in order to check the reliability of the test. The Cronbach Alpha for the Coping Humour Scale was low, .50 but still acceptable and it was lower than the value .61 found in Martin and Lefecourt's (1983) studies in Canada. The corrected item-total correlation for the 7 item of Coping Humour Scale fall between .199 to .483, with an exception of Item 1 ( I often lose my sense of humour when I am having problems), which the corrected item-total correlation was -.22. This means that item 1 is not consistent with other items, if item 1 was deleted, the Cronbach Alpha of Coping Humour Scale will become .58, higher than current value .50.

The Cronbach Alpha of the Situational Humour Response Questionnaire was high, .78 which was a reliable measure although it only consists of 18 items comparing to 21 items. The corrected item-total correlation for the 18 items of Situational Humour Response Questionnaire falls between .151 and .519. Given it's comparability to previous study of 21 items, Cronbach Alpha ranging from .70 to .85 and test-retest correlation of around .70 was presented (Lefcourt & Martin, 1986; Martin & Lefcourt, 1984).

The Cronbach Alphas of the four sub-scales (affiliative humour, self-enhancing humour, aggressive humour and self-defeating humour) of the Humor Style Questionnaire were .77, .68, .47 and .69 respectively. The Cronbach alpha of aggressive humour was low .47, if the item 27 (If I don't like someone, I often use humor or teasing to put them down) was deleted, the Cronbach alpha will rise to an acceptable value .50. Comparing with Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Gray and Weirs' research(2002), reliabilities for this four sub scale were .85, .81, .80 and .82 which were very high.

For the four sub-scales (creativity, coping humour, attitudes towards humourous people and appreciation of humour) of Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale, the Cronbach Alphas were 0.80, 0.71, 0.53 and 0.47. Appreciation Humour show a very low value, 0.47 which is not good, but due to the less item (only 2 items) in this scale, it did not show the Cronbach's alpha if item deleted. In Martin's Sense of Humour (2003), Multidimensional Sense of Humour scale consider as a reliable measurement which has a high value of Cronbach alpha, 0.90.

Cultural and Gender differences in humour

A secondary analysis of 2 (male, female) x2 (British, Malaysian) independent groups ANOVA were carried out, in order to find out the main effect of nationality, gender in each measures (dependent variables) which include Coping Humour Scale, Situational Humour Response Questionnaire, Humour Sense Questionnaires (affiliative humour, self-enhancing humour, aggressive humour and self-defeating humour) and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale (creativity, coping humour, attitudes towards humourous people and appreciation humour) and also the interaction effect between nationality and gender differences in each measures. There were only main effects in Coping Humour Scale, Humour Sense Questionnaires and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale and no interaction effect between gender and nationality at all in any of the measures.

Coping Humour Scale

Levene's Test of homogeineity was assumed, p>0.05 which was not significant. The results of ANOVA showed that there were main effects in both nationality [F (1, 96) = 6.04, p < .02] and gender [F (1, 96) = 5.83, p < .02], but no interaction effect between gender and nationality. Results indicate that Malaysian (M= 2.93, S.D= 0.36) scored higher than British (M = 2.74, S.D= 0.42) in nationality, while males (M= 2.93, S.D= 0.41) scoring higher than females (M= 2.76, S.D= 0.37) in gender.

Humour Style Questionnaires

Levene's Test of homogeineity was assumed, p>0.05 in all the four sub-scale of Humor Style Questionnaires. In the ANOVA of all four sub-scales, the analyses for the Self-enhancing humour scale revealed significant main effect for both gender [F (1, 96) = 3.97, p < .01] and nationality [F (1, 96) = 6.21, p < .05]. British (M=4.37, S.D=1.01) and males (M= 4.28, S.D= 1.04) overall had higher Self-enhancing humour than Malaysian (M= 3.92, S.D= 0.83) and females (M= 3.96, S.D= 0.79). In the contrary, three other sub-scales have no either main effects or interaction effects.

Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale

The Levene's Test of homogeineity was assumed, p>0.05 in all the four sub-scale of Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale. Attitudes towards humourous people (one of the sub-scale) showed a significant main effect only in gender [F (1, 96) = 16.357, p < .05], which females had higher mean (M =4.54, S.D= 0.52) than males (M =4.27, S.D= 0.63). There were no main effects and interaction effects found in other sub-scale as well.

Discussion

Aims and hypotheses

Throughout the present study, there are 3 aims. The first aim is to investigate the differences of sense of humour in both Malaysian and British culture. The results show that there are significant differences in humour between Malaysia and British, with the hypothesis of British tends to be funny had been confirmed from the analysis of current study. British have higher mean in all of the measures, except for the Coping Humour Scale and Self-Defeating Humour (Humour Sense Questionnaire). Secondly, the investigation in gender comparison in sense of humour is also one of the aims with the hypothesis of male participants will be more humorous than female. Most of the past research showed that, there was gender neutral in the sense of humour, but still, some research found that males tend to be more humourous than females. Table 1 to table 6 clearly showed that in some measures like Situational Humour Response Questionnaire, factors in Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale or Humour Style Questionnaires, males score higher than females (SHRQ: 2.58>2.41). The third aim of the studies is to investigate the interaction effect between culture and gender differences. In this study, there are no interactions in all 10 dependant variables between culture and gender.

For the Coping Humour Scale, the higher the mean of nationality or gender, the higher the possibility of using humour as a coping mechanism, in the other way, people have a better ability to employ humour for mastering in response to a difficult or stressful situation (Ho& Chik, 2010). Most of the researches conclude that female scores higher as they use humour as a coping mechanism. Unlike the results of others study, this study shows that males tend to use humour as a coping mechanism than females in Coping Humour Scale and also the Coping Humour of Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale. From the above results, it shows that males (2.93) having a higher mean than females (2.76) as well as the Malaysian (2.96) than British (2.88). The higher mean of the male participants in Coping Humour Scale has supported the findings of past research done by Chen&Martin (2007) .

Results show that British and Males see humour as a self-enhancing mechanism, in comparison to Malaysian and Female. This can be explained with the above mentioned findings that show males tend to be more humourous than female. British scoring higher in self-enhancing humour illustrates that……..

Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale

The Levene's Test of homogeineity assumed, p>0.05 in all the four sub-scale of Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale. Attitudes towards humourous people (one of the sub-scale) showed a significant main effect only in gender [F (1, 96) = 16.357, p < .05], which females had higher mean (M =4.54, S.D= 0.52) than males (M =4.27, S.D= 0.63). There were no main effects and interaction effects found in other sub-scale as well.

Factor Analysis

In the factor analysis, the results of both measures, Humour Style Questionnaires and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale show different findings which are not consistent with the suggestion of past research. In the Humour Style Questionnaires, when items are generated, four factors emerged from the data, but it shows different item loading in different factors comparing to prior research. Total of nine items load differently, which 4 items did not load significantly (above .3). Martin (2003) suggested that each factor load with 8 items, affiliative humour, self-enchancing humour, aggressive humour and self-defeating humour. From the table 7, factor 3 appeared only with 5 items which load significantly, and there should be one item from factor 3 which should load in the other factor according to Martin's (2003) study.

For Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale, two factors are not identified due to the different item loadings on it comparing to the prior study done by Thorson&Powell (1993). Creativity and coping humour can be identified through the factor analysis, while appreciation humour and the attitudes towards humourous people can not be identified by the allocated items. Besides that, one item (I can ease a tense situation by saying something funny) does not load significantly (above .3) but in Thorson &Powell (1993) analysis it appeared in the creativity factor.

As a result of these findings, it was decided that not to use this factor analysis to measure the sense of humour as cultural and gender based comparisons. Although, there were factors that had some theoretical validity, but the overall findings in factor analysis looked messy. Therefore, the reliability and anova test will adopt past research's scale.

Limitations

One of the limitations for the whole study is the small sample size of participants (50 participants from each group). The amount of the sample size had directly affected the results of the factor analyses, therefore the bigger the sample size, the better the results analyse. In this study, the factor analyse did not run successfully, it could be improved by increasing more participants (>500), which suggested by MacCallum (1999).

In addition, Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multicultural society; it mainly consists of Malays, Chinese and Indian cultures. In this study, even though participants from these three cultural backgrounds have taken part, their sample is not equal and therefore this study cannot accurately represents all of the Malaysians. In order to portray to a more accurate picture, it should have an equal sample size of each culture of Malaysian.

Conclusion

The factor analysis showed unexpected results in both Humour Style Questionnaires and Multidimensional Sense of Humour Sense. The failure of the four factors emerge in Multidimensional Sense of Humour Scale and the items did not load significantly have affect the following test adopted past research scale. For gender, the overall results showed that males tend to be more humourous, tend to use humour as a coping mechanism than females. On the other hand, Malaysian tends to use humour as a coping mechanism more than the British; whereas for the British, rather than relying on humour as a coping mechanism, they see humour as a form of

social interaction with others.



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