Conversational humor among stroke survivors

Robin L. Heath, Lee X. Blonder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Most humor research involving brain-damaged participants relies on laboratory-based neurolinguistic methods with clinician-selected stimuli. In this study, speech data from videotaped interviews was used to examine interactive humor generated by stroke survivors, their spouses, and an interviewer. We hypothesized that incongruities evident in the humor will expand and enrich the meaning of stroke survivors' humor. Our data indicated that the humor, as a way to talk about disabilities, was a subtle and pervasive element in the conversation of stroke survivors. Among our participants, humor was used as a way of re-asserting autonomy and self-esteem and maneuvering social distance by pointing to boundaries and creating, confirming or denying allegiance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Correspondence address: [email protected] We wish to thank Amy Kirkpatrick, who conducted the interviews, Robert King and Justin Yandell who coded the interviews, Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital and University of Kentucky Hospital for permitting us to recruit informants from their facilities, and the people of Kentucky who participated in the study. The research was supported in part by a grant from University Funds, University of Kentucky, to Dr. Robin Heath, and a FIRST Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders (R29NS290882) to Dr. Lee Blonder.


  • Affect
  • Cognition
  • Humor
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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