Studies exploring the role of humor in pain perception involve showing participants funny videos prior to the “cold presser task,” in which participants submerge their hand into very cold water for as long as possible. Researchers measure the time it takes before the participants declare that the task is painful, indicating “pain threshold,” and the subsequent time that they can bear the pain, known as “pain tolerance.” One study found that when participants view a humorous video, compared to neutral and negative videos in similar length and interest level, they show increased levels of pain tolerance and duration.
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