from the you-cannot-be-serious! dept.
Researchers from Bristol's School of Education sought to determine what types of humour are present in early development and the ages at which different types of humour emerge. The team created the 20-question Early Humour Survey (EHS) and asked the parents of 671 children aged 0 to 47 months from the UK, US, Australia, and Canada, to complete the five-minute survey about their child's humour development.
The team found the earliest reported age that some children appreciated humour was 1 month, with an estimated 50% of children appreciating humour by 2 months, and 50% producing humour by 11 months. The team also show that once children produced humour, they produced it often, with half of children having joked in the last 3 hours.
Of the children surveyed, the team identified 21 different types of humour. Children under one year of age appreciated physical, visual and auditory forms of humour. This included hide and reveal games (e.g., peekaboo), tickling, funny faces, bodily humour (e.g., putting your head through your legs), funny voices and noises, chasing, and misusing objects (e.g., putting a cup on your head).
One-year-olds appreciated several types of humour that involved getting a reaction from others. This included teasing, showing hidden body parts (e.g., taking off clothes), scaring others, and taboo topics (e.g., toilet humour). They also found it funny to act like something else (e.g., an animal).
Two-year-olds' humour reflected language development, including mislabelling, playing with concepts (e.g., dogs say moo), and nonsense words. Children in this age group were also found to demonstrate a mean streak as they appreciated making fun of others and aggressive humour (e.g., pushing someone).
Finally, 3-year-olds were found to play with social rules (e.g., saying naughty words to be funny), and showed the beginnings of understanding tricks and puns.
Elena Hoicka, Burcu Soy Telli, Eloise Prouten, et al. The Early Humor Survey (EHS): A reliable parent-report measure of humor development for 1- to 47-month-olds. [open], Behavior Research Methods (DOI: 10.3758/s13428-021-01704-4)