Individual humor tendencies or behaviors may change with age, but most studies have focused on school-aged children to college students and have rarely explored differences in humor style tendencies from adulthood to older age. The present study examines humor style differences among participants of different ages. This study hypothesizes that older adults are more likely to prefer positive and self-focused humor styles (self-enhancing humor style). A total of 407 participants of different ages and genders were recruited to investigate their humor style tendencies. The results show that men tend to prefer aggressive humor, while women tend to prefer affiliative humor. Interactions between age and humor styles were found. Further analyses show that adolescent to college-aged participants tend to use affiliative humor, adult participants tend to prefer both affiliative and self-enhancing humor, and older adults tend to use self-enhancing humor. In addition, individuals increasingly tend to prefer self-enhancing humor with age, and this tendency was strongest among the older adults, supporting our hypothesis. This study reveals not only significant gender differences but also age differences in humor style tendencies. Our findings clarify the relationship between humor and age and can serve as a basis for future research.
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