DAN Faculty in the News

Professor Julie Aitken Schermer has been featured in the Western News this week for her research linking psychology to humour-styles.  Well done, Professor Schermer!

Excerpt from the Western News

Research linking humour styles and psychology suggests your responses to a joke may provide insight into your personality.

Management and Organizational Studies professor Julie Aitken Schermer, in the first work of its kind, recently showed a person’s genetics, plus the environment around them, might influence the relationship between who they are and what they find amusing.

In other words, you inherit a particular sense of humour from your parents. But your classmates, work colleagues, and individual experiences ultimately shape your humour style.

Schermer’s research linking psychology and humour has serious implications. “It’s the self-deprecating humour style that I am particularly worried about,” she said.

Schermer was one of the world’s first researchers to uncover the link between excessive self-deprecating humour and suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorders. Her new work could help counsellors, psychologists, therapists and clinicians treat mental illness in Canada using humour.

“They could benefit from being more aware of the functions of humour in their patients’ lives and how maladaptive humour plays a role in their psychological dysfunctions,” she said.

As importantly, Schermer’s work reduces the stigma of mental illness by helping to uncover possible biological and environmental explanations for linking humour and mental illness.