Peter McGraw

I host solo.

Will these cartoons be funny in other countries?

I was recently in New York as part of my Humor Code travels, and I  met Paul Noth, a cartoonist whose work appears in The New Yorker.  We talked about the types of cartoons that might have broad (even universal) appeal. He kindly agreed to a video interview: Comedy often doesn’t translate well across cultures. […]

The streak is over

I launched my blog on August 3, 2010.  Since then, I have posted 82 entries, and I have not missed a Wednesday post.  That streak is now over. Although, technically, I am posting today, I don’t have new content. If you are disappointed, please let me know. It will help to know that people care.  […]

Why are people with low self-esteem doormats?

My old friend and former roommate, Tony Hermann, is doing research on self-esteem. Recently, I asked him: Why are people with low self-esteem doormats? His answer is consistent with recent research in psychology that positives and negatives should be treated as distinct constructs and not as opposites along a single continuum. Said in a way […]

Can a Joke Prevent an Unwanted Pregnancy?

With Joel Warner. Adapted from our Wired.com post. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has a problem: Seven out of 10 pregnancies among unmarried 18-to-29-year-olds in this country are unplanned. The organization also has an unusual potential solution: comedy. Unlike the organization’s work with teens, the goal is not to get the […]

Examining the business of humor in the Big Apple

Funny sells Tomorrow, we leave Colorado to get a glimpse of the big business of humor. Although comedy can be found almost anywhere (as we discovered during our trip to Palestine) it’s most apparent where people have substantial resources to commit to creating – and enjoying – comedic entertainment. New York City is one of those places. […]

A serious non-serious research topic

Why bother studying humor? Because it may be one of the most important topics of all. With Joel Warner (originally posted at Psychology Today; based on one of my earliest posts ) Humor has been around for as long as there has been humanity — and considering that chimps and other primates laugh, humor has […]

A policy maker’s dilemma: Public safety or preventing blame?

Recently, one of my papers, co-authored with Alex Todorov and Howard Kunreuther received some (good) press (NPR and Washington Post). The gist of the argument we make is that anti-terror policy in the U.S. (and I suspect elsewhere) is guided not only by a scientific assessment of risk, but also by the potential blame that […]