Why is political satire so liberal? How ideology and personality predict humor appreciation: The liberal nature of satire is often attributed to its tendency to challenge the status quo, a phenomenon that is inherently liberal in nature. However, given that the most common rhetorical structures of satire are cognitively taxing and ambiguous, perhaps such texts are more appreciated by individuals higher in need for cognition and tolerance for ambiguity. Since research has indicated both of these personality traits are more prevalent among liberals than conservatives (Jost & Amodio, 2010; Sargent, 2004; Wiersema, van der Schalk, & van Kleef, 2011), it follows that liberal individuals may be more appreciative of humor that involves cognitive complexity, and whose meaning is implicit rather than explicit. In this talk, I will present the results of an online experiment conducted to test these propositions (N = 305) in March 2015. Dannagal G. Young is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Delaware and a Fellow of the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication. For the past decade, she has studied the content, audience, and effects of non-traditional political information, particularly political satire. Dr. Young’s research on media effects and the cognitive implications of political humor have appeared in books and journals including The Columbia Journalism Review, Media Psychology, Political Communication, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, and Mass Communication and Society.

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