Humiliate My Enemies or Mock My Friends? Applying Disposition Theory of Humor to the Study of Political Parody Appreciation and Attitudes Toward Candidates

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Abstract

The research examines politically entertaining media through a mass communication lens, applying the disposition theory of humor toward the study of political parody appreciation and the effects of exposure to varied humor types on political attitudes. The analyses rely on experimental data (N = 269) collected in 2013. The results of the first analysis suggest that the interaction of disposition and exposure to different types of humor significantly influences variation in political parody appreciation. The findings from the second analysis show that negative affect toward the opposing candidate, or the presumed victor of a humorous situation, can dampen attitudes toward the victim given exposure to critical humor. The strategic implications for campaigns looking to engage with humor are discussed.

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