PhD student, The University of Sheffield
I am interested in the relationship between humour development and social cognition in young children. Humour emerges from 3 months (Mireault, Sparrow, Poutre, Perdue & Macke, 2012). The types of humour young children like changes over the course of early development from clowning early on (Reddy, 2001) through to irony in later years (Angeleri & Airenti, 2014). Social cognition is a broad area focusing on thoughts and social behaviour (Ric, 2015), such as false beliefs, imitation, intentions and joint attention. The purpose of my current study is to examine the longitudinal relationship between humour and social cognition in typical children across a six-month interval.
Fifty-seven English-speaking parents of 3-to-47-months-olds have completed the Early Humour Survey and the Early Social Cognition Survey online twice 6 months apart to measure humour development and understanding of others’ minds so far. We are aiming to reach 200 participants longitudinally. A linear regression will be performed to ascertain how social cognition at time 2 will be affected by age at time 2, gender, and social cognition at time 1 (block 1), and humour at time 1 (block 2).
In conclusion, this study will be able to suggest whether humour is a good predictor of socio-cognitive development in the first years of life or vice versa.
Abstract: We investigated humor as a context for learning about abstraction and disbelief. More specifically, we investigated how parents support humor understanding during book sharing with their toddlers. In Study 1, a corpus analysis revealed that in books aimed at 1-to 2-year-olds, humor is found more often than other forms of doing the wrong thing including mistakes, pretense, lying, false beliefs, and metaphors. In Study 2, 20 parents read a book containing humorous and non-humorous pages to their 19-to 26-month-olds. Parents used a significantly higher percentage of high abstraction extra-textual utterances (ETUs) when reading the humorous pages. In Study 3, 41 parents read either a humorous or non-humorous book to their 18-to 24-month-olds. Parents reading the humorous book made significantly more ETUs coded for a specific form of high abstraction: those encouraging disbelief of prior utterances. Sharing humorous books thus increases toddlers' exposure to high abstraction and belief-based language.
Pub.: 01 Sep '08, Pinned: 13 Sep '17
Abstract: The current studies explored early humour as a complex socio-cognitive phenomenon by examining 2- and 3-year-olds' humour production with their parents. We examined whether children produced novel humour, whether they cued their humour, and the types of humour produced. Forty-seven parents were interviewed, and videotaped joking with their children. Other parents (N= 113) completed a survey. Parents reported children copy jokes during the first year of life, and produce novel jokes from 2 years. In play sessions, 3-year-olds produced mostly novel humorous acts; 2-year-olds produced novel and copied humorous acts equally frequently. Parents reported children smile, laugh, and look for a reaction when joking. In play sessions, 2- and 3-year-olds produced these behaviours more when producing humorous versus non-humorous acts. In both parent reports and play sessions, they produced novel object-based (e.g., underwear on head) and conceptual humour (e.g., 'pig says moo') and used wrong labels humorously (e.g., calling a cat a dog). Thus, parent report and child behaviour both confirm that young children produce novel humorous acts, and share their humour by smiling, laughing, and looking for a reaction.
Pub.: 09 Oct '12, Pinned: 13 Sep '17
Abstract: Previous research suggests that comprehending ironic utterances is a relatively late-developing skill, emerging around 5-6 years of age. This study investigated whether younger children might show an earlier understanding when ironic utterances are performed in familiar communicative situations, and investigated the relationships among irony comprehension, language, and theory of mind (ToM) abilities. A group of 100 children aged 3.0-6.5 years was presented with 4 types of puppet scenarios depicting different communicative interactions: control, joke, contingent irony and background irony stories. Results suggested that (a) even younger children easily understand jokes, and may sometimes understand ironies; (b) children's comprehension of irony continues to develop across early childhood; and (c) receptive vocabulary scores had simultaneous effects on irony comprehension and ToM performance.
Pub.: 25 Dec '13, Pinned: 13 Sep '17
Abstract: Infancy is a critical time for the development of secure attachment, which is facilitated by emotionally synchronous interactions with parents. Humor development, which includes shared laughter and joint attention to an event, emerges concurrently with attachment, but little is known regarding the relationship, if any, between humor development and attachment in the first year. Thirty 3-month-old infants were videoed at home each month until they were 6-months old while their parents attempted to amuse them. Frequency of infants' smiles and laughs served as a measure of "state humor", and the smiling/laughing subscale of the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised served as a measure of "trait humor". State and trait humor were not correlated. Lower trait humor as 6 months predicted higher attachment security on the Attachment Q-sort at 12-months (r=.46), suggesting that less good-humored infants elicit greater parental engagement, which works to the benefit of attachment, or vice versa. Future studies should examine the importance of smiling and laughter as they relate to other developmental phenomena in the first year.
Pub.: 18 Sep '12, Pinned: 13 Sep '17