Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Speech-Language Pathology, MS

First Advisor

D'Jaris Coles-White

Second Advisor

Tammy Shilling

Third Advisor

Heather Ferguson



Understanding the impact that humor can have as a form of therapy has been studied mostly in relation to mental and spiritual healing. As a result, little focus has been given to understanding the types of humor and how one’s understanding of and appreciation for types of humor develop over time. Gaining an understanding of humor development is important due to discoveries that the use of humor is a great intervention tool when working with children. Nevertheless, the use of pictures (with humor) is often used within speech therapy sessions, but seldom used correctly due to the lack of understanding of humor development in children.


This study was carried out by individually removing each participant from the classroom A total of 12 pictures were presented to each child (i.e. three groups of four pictures) via the iPad. When the first photo grid was presented, the experimenter directed the participant’s attention to the reference picture, and created a story line to explain the reference picture. Then the experimenter directed the participant’s attention to the other three pictures by saying, “…Point to the picture that makes you laugh the most.” The participant then selected from the three alternatives, with the expected selection to be the one of incongruency. Each participant was given a range of 0 to 90 seconds to observe each photo grid and select a response.


A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient showed that there was a positive correlation on all of the dependent variables (types of humor) and some independent variables (i.e. language and gender), as well as between gender and hyperbolic humor type. Repeated measures ANOVA resulted in significant difference in participants’ ability to correctly identify incongruent elements in types of humor based on gender, language and age. A multiple regression analysis was done and resulted in there being a high level of significance for the independent variables age grouping, gender and language skills to operate as successful predictors of overall correct identification of incongruence in the dependent variables.


It is important to take into consideration the age, gender and type of humor as well as the language skill level of each client, because these aspects could have a major impact on the success or failure of a session and overall work with a client.

Subject Area

Children; Humor in children

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.