Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1969

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Edna Rawlings


The present experiment was designed to determine the effects of arousal, inhibition, and level of sexual drive on the appreciation of sexual humor, as determined by scores on four factors (1, 4, 6, and 12) from Cattell and Tollefson’s IPAT Humor Test of Personality, with Form A administered as a pretest and Form B as a posttest. The sexual motivation level as measured by Epstein’s Orgasm Scale (1957) was assessed for each of the 32 subjects and they were divided into high and low drive level prior to the experimental manipulation of arousal and inhibition. The design was a 2x2x2 analysis of variance with four Ss in each of eight groups created by low and high drive, low and high inhibition, and low and high arousal. The ANOVA indicated a significant main effect of Drive on Factor 1: Anxious Considerateness vs. Debonair Sexual and General Uninhibitedness; significant Drive-Inhibition interaction, and significant Drive-Inhibition-Arousal interaction on Factor 6: Impudent Defiance of Decency vs. Resignation; and a significant main effect of inhibition on Factor 12: Rebound Against Feminine Aggression vs. Scorn of the Ineffectual Male. Duncan’s Range Tests and t-tests indicated some significant differences between various means of different conditions. The results were discussed in terms of Freud’s idea of humor as a tension release process and noting the displacement mechanism as relevant from both Freud (1924) and Dollard and Miller’s (1950) ideas on response tendencies in conflict and anxiety provoking situations, created here by various combinations of drive level, inhibition, and arousal.


Copyright 1969 Karen Holeman Burkhardt


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