Predicting Intentions to Engage With Scientific Messages on Twitter: The Roles of Mirth and Need for Humor

Sara K. Yeo, Leona Yi Fan Su, Michael A. Cacciatore, Meaghan McKasy, Sijia Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although humor is a recommended strategy for scientists to connect with publics, there is a lack of empirical evidence concerning its effectiveness. We conduct an experiment to test how funny science on Twitter affects engagement intentions. We find that different humor types caused viewers to experience different levels of mirth, which mediated the relationship between our experimental manipulation and engagement intentions. We also find need for humor, an individual trait, to moderate the relationship between mirth and engagement intentions. These findings extend our understanding of humor in science communication and offer empirical evidence on which practical advice can be grounded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-507
Number of pages27
JournalScience Communication
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Keywords

  • engagement
  • mirth
  • need for humor
  • science humor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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