Mr. Ramandeep Mungur
Ramandeep is a doctoral student at UCL researching disgust in the social sphere. His interests include: Disgust, intergroup interactions, humour, morality, evolutionary psychology, social neuroscience, and psychoneuroimmunology. He has recently co-authored a chapter in the handbook of morality with Lasana Harris, and is also studying disgust in a VR gaming context.
How emotions are memed: The role of disgust in humour and online content sharing.
Background: Disgust evolved for pathogen detection and has been co-opted to detect social and moral violations, protecting both the body and the in-group from contamination. Laughter facilitates social bonding, and functions as a signal of environmental safety, whilst humour occurs when one’s expectations are violated in a benign setting. In-group environments are the safest environments hence laughter must signal this. Memes are a recent cultural phenomenon that may play a key role in social bonding, particularly online.
H1: Disgust-based memes will be perceived as funnier than memes that elicit other emotions.
H2: Disgust as a feature of the meme will predict funniness.
H3: There will be a reduction in negative emotions from seeing the premise to seeing the punchline.
Sharing target research is exploratory owing to a contrasting predictions of ingroup preference and familial power dynamics.
Participants viewed memes and rated them on various emotions when presented with the meme’s premise, and again after having seen the punchline. They are then asked to evaluate their funniness and other aspects of the meme, and to whom they would share the meme.
H1: Disgust-associated memes are no more frequently perceived to be funny vs other emotion-associated memes.
H2: Memes that are sent to friends are funnier than memes sent to other kin, or non-kin. There was no effect of emotion.
H3: There is a small but significant reduction in negative emotions from seeing the premise to the punchline of a meme.
H1: There may be no special role of specific emotions in humour. The disgust stimuli used, however, were perhaps not social enough.
H2: There is a specific role of humour sharing in non-kin in-group bonding – further research should be conducted into the relationship of humour-sharing online in the context of co-rumination.
H3: An increase in positive emotion coupled with the decrease in negative emotion may associated with humour. A context switch from threat to play may also explain why negative emotion was reduced but not abolished when seeing the punchline. Play in adults and online itself is understudied and future research should explore this.