Psychology, political ideology, and humor appreciation: Why is satire so liberal?

This project explores how appreciation for, and comprehension of, ironic and exaggerated satire is related to political ideology. Drawing upon literature from communication, political psychology, and humor research, we explain how the psychological profiles of conservatives may render them less motivated to process and appreciate certain forms of humor compared to liberals. We test these propositions with an experiment that employs a two condition within-subjects experiment on a national sample (N = 305) to assess appreciation and comprehension of ironic and exaggerated humor among liberals and conservatives. Mediating effects of psychological traits are tested. Findings suggest that conservatives are less appreciative of both irony and exaggeration than liberals. In both cases, the effect is explained in part by lower sense of humor and need for cognition found among conservative participants. Results are explored in terms of the implications for political discourse, political polarization, and democratic practices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)