Psychology’s attention to humour has intensified since the 1970s. From being an occasional and peripheral topic of research, it has acquired a significant importance documented by publications and conferences of increasing number and quality.Humour can be usefully framed as a process in which a stimulus is given a reaction of amusement depending on the characteristics of the stimulus and on the intervening personality variables. Much of the psychological approach aims to analyse and describe the terms of this process and of their interactions. Humour presents itself as a multidimensional entity, in which a key role is played by the cognitive dimension, together with the dynamic and the relational ones. In this perspective, the so-called “traditional theories” are also repositioned, including those of incongruity, relief and superiority.Some of the aspects that psychological investigation has dealt with are further delineated, such as the “sense of humour”, and the functions of humour.
Keywords: humour, incongruity perception, personality, cognitive dimension, dynamic dimension, relational dimension