Cultivating interest in science through humor: Mirth as a leveler of gaps in science engagement
Michael A. Cacciatore, Yeo, S. K., Becker, A. B., & Anderson, A. A. (2023, May). “Cultivating interest in science through humor: Mirth as a leveler of gaps in science engagement,” Paper presentation at the annual convention of the International Communication Association (ICA 2023), Toronto, Canada.
Abstract: This paper expands on existing science humor scholarship by looking at an underexplored contextual factor—the identity of the speaker delivering the jokes—and how that might impact audience reception of a video featuring stand-up science comedy. In taking this approach, we focus primarily on the credentials assigned to the speaker (scientist vs. comedian), the mirth experienced by participants after viewing the video, and the trust that audience members have in both scientists and comedic media personalities. Our overarching goal is to better understand how communicator characteristics impact audience reception of funny science content, and to identify effective strategies for using humor to expand the audience for science and environmental content.