Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dr. Thorson's Humor Scale

"You’ll be healthier if you lighten up. Our research has shown that those who score high on a multidimensional sense of humor scale have lower levels of depression and higher levels of purpose than those who score low in humor."

I'm not trying to presuppose that the humor scale is intent on relaying any sort of reliable information. I just see a glaring problem with the idea of telling the audience what the socially appropriate/beneficial response before they are measured. It's bad testing. Anyone who carries a doctorate would/should know this yet I digress-- even if all the items of measurement influence a biased positive answer.

But, as you can see, Columbo is perfectly depicted here for two reasons: (1) he's rubbing his brow in the classic facepalm.jpg fashion due to the massive failure of this scale, (2) he's iconic for the use of humor to diffuse a tense situation. It's not that I don't agree with what this scale is saying in terms of what humor, joy, and socially inherent behaviors (like laughter) are good for; I just don't agree with the validity of what this is trying to advertise. It's a bit misleading. It wreaks of silly girl magazines and hair-brained scheming.

I scored 54/64 which apparently means:"you use humor sometimes, but perhaps you could learn to let yourself go and enjoy more variety." Hm. The thing is that I think people generally need to be sad every so often. It's a requirement of life and existence. You can't simply go around doing whatever you want, happy all the time; where would you know from happy if you're never sad? Sadness rectifies human perception and that means it is necessary for our lives. It's about understanding, not happiness. If you are depressed or stressed then it is a responsibility that falls on you to understand and resolve the issue(s). Happiness comes from this. Joy comes from this. Sadness begets happiness which begets sadness. This isn't philosophical, it's factual.

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