“Let me understand this, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to f**kin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”
Now, thanks to science, Tommy Devito can actually answer the question he posed in Goodfellas.
After identifying four distinct styles of humor, recently retired University of Western Ontario psychology researcher Rod Martin and his colleagues created the Humor Styles Questionnaire.
Using 32 questions about how you joke around with others and your ability to laugh at yourself, the quiz identifies your humor style as affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive or self-defeating (although it does acknowledge everyone likely has a unique personal mix of all four styles.)
Bearing in mind that there’s some crossover, here’s how the HSQ defines each of the humor.
Affiliative: Relatively benign uses of humor to enhance one’s relationships with others.
Self-enhancing: Relatively benign uses of humor to enhance the self.
Aggressive: Use of humor to enhance the self at the expense of others.
Self-defeating: Use of humor to enhance relationships at the expense of self.
While there are no ironclad takeaways from which style an individual registers, Martin did link affiliative and self-enhancing humor with traits like extraversion and healthy mental well-being, and aggressive and self-defeating humor with neuroticism and maladaptive behavior.
“It’s really the way we use humor that is most important,” Martin told New York Magazine. “Not so much how funny you are, but how you use humor in advancing relationships or in detrimental ways. Some people are always laughing and joking as a way of avoiding issues.”
Wanna see how you measure up? Take the test here. If you care, we rated as “mostly affiliative.”