Clinical Psychology 7 (2014), 1-2, 23-39

Original scientific paper

The Effects of Humor on Performance in Mathematical Word Problems and Anxiety

Marija Hrebac Hlobik - Amadeus M.A.J. d.o.o., Zagreb
Nina Pavlin-Bernardić - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 23-39).pdf

The aim of this study was to determine whether exposure to humorous content can improve performance in math word problems and reduce anxiety. 113 undergraduate psychology students from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb were divided into 3 groups: all groups filled out the trait anxiety scale of STAI and MSLQ TA– test anxiety scale. The first experimental group then read jokes and regular instruction for solving a math problem, the second experimental group had a humorous instruction before the same math problem, while the control group had only regular instruction and the same math problem test. After the test, all groups evaluated the use of humor and filled out the State anxiety scale of STAI. The results showed no significant differences in either the number of correctly solved math problems or in anxiety after solving them between the groups that were exposed to humorous content and the control group. Nevertheless, the majority of students answered that humor helped them in reducing anxiety and that they would like humor to be included in the next exam they will be taking.

humor, test anxiety, math problems

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