Laughing at Politicians to Make Justice: The Moral Component of Humor in Appraising Politicians

Andrés Mendiburo-Seguel, Stephanie Alenda, Darío Páez, Patricio Navia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A recent line of research in the field of humor has proposed the existence of two morally based comic styles. One of them, corrective humor (or satire), seeks to ridicule and mock to establish justice. In contrast, benevolent humor attempts to correct deviances using humor in a friendly manner understanding human imperfections. Considering their focus on correcting what is perceived as morally wrong, in this study we seek to examine how these styles can affect the evaluation that is made of politicians after being exposed to humor that attacks them. To achieve this, we conducted an experiment in which three groups had to evaluate two politicians after being exposed to different stimuli (memes that ridiculed them, images with the same content without its humorous content, or no exposure; total n = 160). Our results demonstrate that it is corrective humor and not benevolent humor that influences the evaluation and that it does so positively; people with higher scores in corrective humor have a better evaluation of politicians after seeing memes with anti-politician content. We discuss possible explanations for this finding and implications for political psychology and humor studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • benevolent humor
  • corrective humor
  • evaluation of politicians
  • political humor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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