“The psychological danger of laughing at offensive jokes”

“Gervais’ comedic failure has multiple consequences. Besides making the Golden Globes less enjoyable from an entertainment perspective, trotting out old tropes and stereotypes has a potentially insidious effect. While we would likely prefer to think of ourselves as critical thinkers, research shows the reality is less noble. Indeed, multiple studies suggest (pdf) we believe much of what we hear or read by default (pdf).
This means that when someone asserts a stereotype, we may passively believe what they said to be true. Rejecting what we hear requires more effort and concentration than simply accepting it as truth. What’s more, lazy jokes actually increase the danger that their audiences will form and hang onto passive beliefs. When jokes are challenging, there is a better chance they will engage our critical faculties.”

Related: “Why I Stand Up to Politically Incorrect Jokes”; “Cognitive Costs of Exposure to Racial Prejudice

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Jess Brooks’s story.