Why Humor Breaks Resistance to Influence: Implicit Effects of Distraction and Positive Affect

Madelijn Strick, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Rick van Baaren, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Rob Holland, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Ad van Knippenberg, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Humor both distracts attention and evokes positive emotions. Both aspects may explain why humor can overcome resistance to influence. In three experiments, novel products were unobtrusively associated with unrelated humor in an evaluative conditioning paradigm. Association with humor on the one hand distracted attention away from (i.e. reduced recognition of), and on the other hand enhanced implicit and explicit attitudes and behavioral choice towards products. Experiment 2 showed that this dissociation is typical for humor and does not occur for other positive cues. Results of Experiment 3 indicate that the distraction, not the affective aspect, of humor breaks resistance.
[ to cite ]:
Madelijn Strick, Rick van Baaren, Rob Holland, and Ad van Knippenberg (2009) ,"Why Humor Breaks Resistance to Influence: Implicit Effects of Distraction and Positive Affect", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1015-1015.