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Title:Dimensions of Humor: The Production and Appreciation of Humor by Deaf Children
Author(s):Sanders, Danielle Marie
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:This study, composed of two phases, was designed to analyze and describe both the productive humor of deaf children and the humor appreciated by them. Two groups of deaf children from the same state residential school for the deaf served as subjects. The first group, involved in the production phase, contained 28 subjects. These subjects were videotaped in small, same-sex groups while they told jokes, riddles, or humorous stories. These humor events were then used in the development of a taxonomy for categorizing humor according to subordinate scales and features. A second group of subjects, involved in the appreciation phase, contained 12 subjects. This group consisted fo 6 females and 6 males; 6 with deaf parents and 6 with hearing parents. Thirteen humor events were selected from the production phases based on a sampling of different categories in order to provide a range from the humor that had been produced.
The methodology departs from most previous research on child humor by (1) using child rather than adult-generated humor as stimuli for appreciation responses and (2) inferring "funniness" criteria from children's responses rather than from adult judgments.
This study found that deaf children produce and appreciate the same kinds of humor as do hearing children, and it is related in much the same way to their language and cognitive development, personality factors, and social experiences. The rate of development of receptive and productive competence in this domain appears to be somewhat slower for deaf children, however, which is probably attributable to reduced language input. Of particular interest was the finding that within the group studied there were differences in the verbal understanding and expression of children with hearing parents vs. deaf parents.
Humor offers educators of the deaf a great deal of potential material for instruction. The capacity of signs to express poetry and abstractions, as well as puns and metaphors, should be exploited. In addition to furthering communication competence, understanding and learning to make use of ambiguity can foster cognitive flexibility, which in turn may trigger children's development of divergent or creative thinking.
Issue Date:1983
Description:147 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8410040
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1983

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