Why Can't You Trust an Atom?

August 16, 2018

Because they make up everything! Love a bad science joke? A new study of undergraduates in 25 different science courses says it’s OK, even beneficial, to crack it. The study, in PLOS ONE, says that while instructor humor has been shown to positively impact student learning, no study has explored humor in college science classrooms in particular. So the authors surveyed students about their perceptions of classroom humor, yielding 1,637 responses. About 99 percent of students said they appreciate instructor humor and that it positively affects the classroom atmosphere, improves student experiences in class and enhances the student-instructor relationship. But offensive humor tends to negatively impact instructor relatability and a student’s sense of belonging, the researchers also found. Jokes about science, college and television were found to be universally funny and inoffensive. Jokes about social identities were found to be most offensive, especially among women.

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