The paper describes the results of a comparative analysis of humor comprehension in healthy people (N=39) and patients with mental disorders (N=31): schizophrenia and schizotypal disorders (N=19) and affective disorders (N=12). A set of seven verbal jokes was administered to the participants individually and followed by in-depth semi-structured interview in order to reveal the levels of cognitive and emotional humor comprehension of each joke. The transcribed protocols of the interviews were assessed independently by four experts (psychologists), who ranked the interpretation of each joke in according with five levels of cognitive (1. fragmentary pseudo-comprehension, 2. pseudo-comprehension, 3. diffuse comprehension, 4. incomplete comprehension, 5. complete comprehension) and three levels of emotional (1. lack of emotional contact: a) complete emotional merging with (one of) the joke’s characters; b) absolute inability to establish emotional contact with the joke’s characters, 2. partial identification, 3. voluntarily regulated partial identification) comprehension.
Satisfactory level of expert assessments consistency was obtained in both groups of participants, which confirms the suitability of the chosen research methodology for using in both healthy and clinical populations.
The results show incomplete humor comprehension to be common among mentally healthy people. At the same time, it is typical for patients with mental disorders to have a significant decrease in both cognitive and emotional components of humor comprehension. We also revealed some differences between the subgroups of schizophrenia and affective disorders. Overall, in the clinical group, correlation between cognitive and emotional components of humor comprehension was lower in comparison with correlation between these components in the controls. We suggest that, in clinical group, the lower correlation may lead to mutual decompensation of cognitive and emotional components while understanding a joke.
A promising next step of the study is to conduct a detailed qualitative analysis of the differences of cognitive and emotional humor comprehension and the strategies of jokes’ meanings reconstruction between healthy people and psychiatric patients.
Thanks largely to the theory of open nonequilibrium systems by I.R. Prigogine, non-classical biology of purposeful activity by N.A. Bernstein, modernist theories and new facts, found in evolutionary biology on the border of XX and XXI centuries, “the rediscovery of time” (I. Prigogine) and the rediscovery of evolution occur. Phenomenology of non-adaptive manifestations in biology, sociology and psychology, perceived as failures and errors of evolution, are involved into their interpretation of preadaptation to unpredictable future turns from background research into a figure. Based on these facts the hypothesis of preadaptation to uncertainty as navigation strategy developing systems is substantiated. It is proved that preadaptation to uncertainty is a key instrument in the generation of the redundancy of biological, cognitive, social and psychological diversity. The process of evolution, understood as the solution to different classes of problems on the uncertainty is associated with two complementary modes of dynamics to historical changes: the mode of adaptive “trends' evolution” determining stability and specialization of species-typical and socio-typical behaviors; mode of preadaptive “evolution of a revolt”, which forms prespecialization, a universal willingness to change and rise to new life forms The hypothesis of preadaptation to uncertainty is the first step towards the formation of evolutionary psychodynamics as a hybrid branch of psychology, linking it with sciences that study the unpredictable changes in the history of man, nature and society.
On the basis of an own definition of fear, the authors present a hierarchical three-level typology of fears and provide a classification of children's fears. The phenomena of suggestion and countersuggestion are analyzed as psychological mechanisms of genesis and correction of suggested children's fears respectively. Game-playing therapy and art-therapy are presented as counter-suggestive techniques ensuring a child's liberation from suggested fears. For senior preschool children suffering from various suggested fears art-therapeutic exercises are a more effective correction (counter-suggestive) method than game-playing exercises.