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Kanzer, M. (1952). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXI, 1951: A Mirth Response Test. Fredrick C. Redlich, Jacob Levine and Theodore P. Sohler. Discussant: Phyllis Blanchard. Pp. 717–734.. Psychoanal Q., 21:445-445.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXI, 1951: A Mirth Response Test. Fredrick C. Redlich, Jacob Levine and Theodore P. Sohler. Discussant: Phyllis Blanchard. Pp. 717–734.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 21:445-445

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXI, 1951: A Mirth Response Test. Fredrick C. Redlich, Jacob Levine and Theodore P. Sohler. Discussant: Phyllis Blanchard. Pp. 717–734.

Mark Kanzer

The authors undertake to investigate systematically the relationship between humor, personality, and clinical findings. A psychodiagnostic procedure, called the Mirth Response Test, examines expressive and verbal responses to popular cartoons. Certain assumptions, based on postulates of Freud, were applied to the findings—for example, a humorous response was interpreted as an indication that a momentary release of some primary repressed need had taken place without accompanying anxiety. Disturbances in humor reactions were classified on the basis of a 'Mirth Response Spectrum'.

Certain characteristic and consistent humor patterns were established. Organic reaction types found difficulty in understanding the cartoons. In some types of neurotic depression there was a good and aggressive sense of humor; in one case of agitated depression that later terminated in suicide, a violent and uninhibited enjoyment of aggressive cartoons was noted. 'Parahumor' in schizophrenics took the form of deviant and personal responses, such as laughter at a fat man because it occurred to the patient that he was pregnant.

Redlich and his coworkers find that their tests confirm Freud's theory of humor. Further validation and extension of the mirth response investigations are under way.

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Article Citation

Kanzer, M. (1952). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXI, 1951. Psychoanal. Q., 21:445-445

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