The higher the humor score, the more the individual was able to place positive distance between their actions and tangible outcomes; they did not interpret their performance on the exams to be as indicative of their own personal worth as much.
Theoretical Support - The key to the brain mind connection can be found in a complex set of molecules called neuropeptides. Petptides are made up of amino acids, the very basic building blocks of protein strucutres. There are, in fact, 23 different amino acids, and peptides are amino acids strung together very much like a string of beads on a necklace. Peptides are found in most areas of the body, but especially the brain and immunie system. Neurally, there are a number of different peptides, including endorphins. Neuropeptides are the way that cellular communication occurs, including brain-to-brain messages, brain-to-body messages, body-to-body messages, and body-to-brain messages. Individual cells have receptro units (sites) that are specifically set up to receive neuropetptides. Humor, in fact, helps send the types of chemical messages that enhance cognition, learning, and as noted, the body's ability to combat stress and increase good feelings. Additional, the authors cite two decades of study that buttress these arguments.
Limitations -- Gender was one limitation to the study, as only females were used in the questionnaires. Second, there was only one cohort used, and it might be beneficial to see if there was any correlation between gender, age (maturity), cultural background, time sequence (longitudinal), and even level of education. One might assume that there are cultural and educational differences in handling stress; potential issues with maturity as well. The study should be expanded to take into account different social and gender groups, different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, and a broader spectrum of academic life. Of interest would also be the type of student and school, and whether an Ivy League individual felt greater stress than a community college student, or whether stress and humor levels are more consistent with personality than location or demographics and psychographics. Finally, the article is about two decades old, there has been a great deal of additional research on neuroscience and neuro chemicals in these last few decades, and of course, this article does not address.
Implications - Humor tends to create an optimal environment for teaching and learning -- Humor optimizes learning because it allows for a more egalitarian and inclusive environment. Leadership is based on building and maintaining trust. Trust is the basis for creating success within a team, as well as the foundation of positive relationships. A strong bond of trust within the classroom will allow for greater trust and expression in students. Additionally, humor techniques could be used to decrease the stress level or phsyical/psychological reactions of those who feel unable to cope with learning and other stresses.
It would be a mistake to negate the increasing demands of contemporary society and the accelerated pace that contribute to stress in the home, office, or workplace. By sheer economic necessity, organizations and individuals must be ready at all times to glean as much productivity per worker per day as possible. The complexity of the modern workplace combined with the realities of life have consequences -- stress. In the workplace, stress may lead to poor work performance, a lack of concern for safety issues, and a general lack of performance that translates into a monetary loss for the company. This is particularly true for manufacturing segments, since the emphasis is on production and the needs of the company remain fairly constant. Stress reduction; whether it be from exercise, diet changes, bio-feedback, meditation, hobbies, or other forms unique to the individual, is so very important that many believe reducing stress would pay off in fiscal dollars by reducing medical issues.
Future Research -- The authors also note that more sets of cognitive processes need to be measured in relation to humor. Additionally, it is likely that humor not only has cognitive benefits, but very well may have physical benefits as well. Which domains, and how those domains are used are further areas of inquiry.