How To throw a Killer-Punchline: Spoil it.

Neue Erkenntnisse der Wissenschaft über maximale Witzwirkung. Spoiler: Um mit der Punchline die höchstmögliche Belustigungsdurchdringung beim Humorrezipienten zu erreichen, sollte man Worte aus oder gar die Pointe selbst vorher spoilern. Hier das Paper: A processing fluency-account of funniness: running gags and spoiling punchlines.

Earlier theories on humour assume that funniness stems from the incongruity resolution of the surprising punchline and thus an insight into the joke's meaning. Applying recent psychological theorising that insight itself draws on processing fluency being the ease and speed with which mental content is processed, it is predicted that increasing the fluency of processing the punchline of a joke increases funniness.

In Experiments 1 and 2, significant nouns from the punchlines or from the beginnings of jokes were presented before a joke was rated in funniness. Pre-exposing punchline words 15 minutes and even only 1 minute before the eventual joke led to increased funniness ratings. In contrast, pre-exposing punchline words directly before a joke led to decreased funniness ratings. Furthermore, pre-exposing the beginning of a joke 1 minute before the joke had no effects on funniness. Experiment 3 ruled out exposure-facilitated punchline anticipation as alternative mechanism, and Experiment 4 replicated this fluency effect with typing font as manipulation. These findings also show that pre-exposing a punchline, which in common knowledge should spoil a joke, can actually increase funniness under certain conditions.

Ich gehe schwer davon aus, dass dieser Mechanismus mindestens mit dem Anti-Spoiler-Effekt verwandt ist, laut dem wir Geschichten besser folgen können, wenn wir den Plot vorher kennen. Spoilers are good, Deal with it.