Humour, tourism and positive psychology

Pearce, Philip, and Pabel, Anja (2014) Humour, tourism and positive psychology. In: Filep, Sebastian, and Pearce, Philip, (eds.) Tourist Experience and Fulfilment: insights from positive psychology. Routledge Advances in Tourism (31). Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, UK, pp. 17-36.

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[Extract] Peter Collett, a prominent British commentator on social behaviour, argues that humour and laughter are central to our well-being and social judgements. In particular, he observes that those who respond to our humour and jokes are seen as attractive to us. Those who fail to laugh with us are seen much less favourably (Collett, 2004). In earlier analyses other social psychologists argued that appreciating and responding to humour can generate positive health outcomes by reducing stress and enhancing personal control (Argyle, 1987; Solomon, 1996). Positive psychologists have identified having a sense of humour as a core character strength. In this view humour is effectively a virtue which helps individuals forge connections to the larger universe and provides them with meaning (Peterson and Seligman, 2004; Park et al., 2005).

Following these multiple perspectives, it can be suggested that, at least in contemporary Western society, having a good sense of humour is widely regarded as a positive trait. The temptation to suggest that a good sense of humour is a positive universal trait is appealing, although the ways in which humour is displayed and appreciated across cultures may be quite different and not easily understood by external observers (Dann, 1996). In tourism studies the role of humour has been specifically identified as first, helping tourists concentrate, second, assisting them to relax and feel comfortable in novel settings, and finally as being useful in enhancing their connections with others (Pearce, 2009). In this chapter two kinds of evidence will be used to add to our understanding of the humour-tourism connection. The first kind of material to be considered will be humour produced for tourists; that is communication designed to appeal to tourists' sense of humour. Instances of this kind of humour will be drawn from tourism businesses and awareness campaigns. A second source of information to build our understanding of the tourism humour connection consists of humour produced by tourists. In particular humorous blogs written by tourists will be considered. This dual approach is consistent with the view that researching a sense of humour must consider the ability to comprehend humorous situations and a different and independent ability to produce humour (Kohler and Ruch, 1996).

Item ID: 38208
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-415-80986-3
Keywords: sense of humour, comfort, concentration, connection, tourism promotion, tourists blogs
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2015 05:52
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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