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STUDY: Humor at work may hurt women, compared to men

TUCSON- University of Arizona researchers are analyzing the positive and negative effects of using humor in the workplace.

The study titled “Gender and the evaluation of humor at work” sheds light on initial reactions to first impressions at work and job interviews when using humor.

One of the team’s researchers Jon Evans found that humor not only affected a person’s expectations, but how behavior was interpreted.

“We found that when in a formal presentation when a woman adds humor to the presentation she is given lower ratings of perceived status of performance, leadership capability compared to when she doesn’t add the humor,” said Evans.

However, Evans explained findings showed when a man used humor to the same presentation, even the same jokes, the male was given higher performance ratings, higher perceived status and leadership capability.

He said the benefits of humor at work include being more charismatic and influencing teams in a more positive way, but the study results showed for women it’s unfortunately different.

“Our hope is that if we can shed light upon this undesired dynamic sort of negative dynamic we can contribute towards its elimination and hopefully improve gender equality,” he said.

Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors KVOA’s newscast weekdays at noon and 4 p.m.
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