Publication details [#63851]

Schweizer, Bernard and Karl-Heinz Ott. 2018. Does religion shape people's sense of humour ? A comparative study of humour appreciation among members of different religions and nonbelievers. The European Journal of Humour Research 6 (1) : 12–35.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
The European Journal of Humour Research


This empirical inquiry explores whether followers of diverse religious beliefs, as well as Atheists and Agnostics show diverse senses of humour when rating a diversity of jokes. It farther examines whether one’s religious backdrop affects the sill of what is viewed abusive. And finally, it inquires wether jokes aiming at religions other than one’s own are always conceived as funnier. All groups assented that if a joke was seen as abusive, its drollery was abated. Analysing the results of a public survey (N=783) containing a blend of religious and non-religious jokes (including irreverent ones), we found that Hindus demonstrate overall the highest humour appreciation among all the groups, while Christians were the least amused by the jokes presented on the survey. Muslims had overall robust humour responses, despite reporting the highest incidence of being offended. Atheists were the least likely to be offended, and they generally enjoyed irreverent jokes. All groups agreed that if a joke was seen as offensive, its funniness was reduced.