Our sense of humor changes as we mature.
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From infancy to adultery - er - adulthood =Þ, we are exposed to different situations, with different challenges and different people to meet. We grow up through a process called maturity, where not only our physical bodies, but our mentality changes too. As said previously, there is a certain amount of intelligence involved when understanding or "getting" a joke, thus, as we mature, our sense of humor develops.
As infants and children, we are discovering the world around us. A lot of what goes on seems absurd, and there are many surprises that we meet. Those things that we find absurd and pleasantly surprising are perceived as funny. The jokes of this age consist of short and simple concepts [an example of this type of joke is an elephant joke, simple and absurd]
Along with the absurd and surprising, children appreciate jokes where cruelty is present and that boost their self-assertiveness. They also enjoy "toilet humor". This obsession with bodily functions can distress adults at times, but to children it is simply another way of exploring their environment as they become aware of things around them.
Adults come to appreciate a more mature humor.
The preteen and teenager years are infamous for being awkward and tense. We discover more about being human, and our sense of humor reflects this. The jokes of the age feature sex, food, people in society that threaten us (authority figures) and any "taboo" subjects - a form of rebellion. It is an insecure time of life, we are trying to find our place in the social situation, and humor is often used as a tool to protect or to feel superior. An example of this type of humor would be the television show, "South Park."
By the time we're adults, we have been through many disasters, successes and self-re-discoveries. Our sense of humor reflects this: it is a more mature humor with experience behind it. We laugh at other people and ourselves in shared "common predicaments, embarrassments and temptations" [Wooten, P. 1996, p. 165]. It is usually clever (subtle, e.g. playing on words) and no longer judgmental, accepting and taking advantage of the differences between people. Here is an example of this more subtle type of humor:
Mahatma Ghandi walked barefoot everywhere he went, to the point that his feet became quite thick and hard. He also was quite a spiritual person. Even when he was not on a hunger strike, he did not eat much and became quite thin and frail. Furthermore, due to his diet, he almost always had very bad breath.
Therefore: He came to be known as a Super callused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.
The things we find funny as a result of our age or developmental stage, seem to correspond with the stressors we experience during this time. Follow this link to a discussion about age and stress, you will be able to draw up some parallels between our age stressors and the things we find funny. This makes sense because we are laughing at the issues that stress us out.