Think of the most hilarious video you’ve ever seen on the internet. Why is it so funny?
As a researcher who investigates some of the potential side effects of humor, I spend a fair bit of time verifying the funniness of the jokes, photos, and videos we present to participants in our studies. Quantifying the perception of humor is paramount in ensuring our findings are valid and reliable. We often rely on pretesting—that is, trying out jokes and other potential stimuli on different samples of people—to give us a sense of whether they might work in our studies.