Jim Lyttle, Ph.D.

Dr. Lyttle earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University, a master's degree using the Harvard Case Method from the University of Western Ontario, and a doctorate in Organizational Behavior from York University.

He also completed Graduate Studies in Psychology at Long Island University and Special Studies in Comparative Religion and Psychology of Religion at the University of Toronto.

He taught for several years at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, the Great Valley Campus for Graduate Professional Studies at Penn State University, and the Duluth Campus of the University of Minnesota before retiring in 2016.



Journal

The Effective and Responsible Use of Humor.

Persuasion theory is used to develop the following predictions about Lockheed-Martin's Dilbert-based business ethics training: (a) Dilbert cartoon drawings enhance liking for the source, as trainees acknowledge management's use of self-effacing humor, (b) Dogbert's wisecracks distract users from forming counter-arguments, as they expend mental effort to decode both the manifest and ironic meanings of statements, and (c) the symbionic combination of Dilbert cartoon figures and Dogbert's wisecracks significantly enhance source credibility and strongly support the dependent variable. The dependent variable is the amount of change (gain score) in employees' intention to consult the Ethics Office, measured before and after the experience. Canadian business students participate in one of four versions of the game. Removing the cartoon drawings slightly reduces the increase in intention to consult the Ethics Office. Removing ironic wisecracks further reduces the incease in intention to consult the Ethics Office. Removing the symbiotic combination of cartoons and wisecracks substantially reduces the increase in intention to consult the Ethics Office. Based on a 2001 dissertation at York University.

Congress

The Effective and Responsible Use of Humor.

An attempt is made to define humor by looking at the etymology of the word itself, a conceptual map of the labels applied to it, and an integration of canonical humor theories. The process of humor appreciation is assessed along with its deliberate use as a tool of communication. The need for a shared context in order to "decode" humor seems to make it inherently exclusive and the existence of a target that is taken lightly seems to make it aggressive. It is argued that humor is ethical to the degree that its target is consenting and/or deserving and to the degree that the initiator of the humor lacks a fiduciary duty to its target. The danger of trivializing important topics with humor is discussed along with the hazard of emboldening or forgiving aggression. It is hoped that this discussion will encourage better scholars to undertake an ethical analysis of the inherent (irreverent) nature of humor.

Congress

The Effective and Responsible Use of Humor.

The use of humor as a therapeutic tool is assessed. Humor is widely agreed to be a mature coping mechanism and a reliable sign of an improved and resilient psyche. However, despite the enthusiasm of its advocates, humor can just as often be used as a distraction or avoidance technique and, unless used elegantly, can erode a client's trust in the therapist. When the therapeutic relationship is ruptured, clients simply stop treatment without explanation. Thus it is unlikely that therapists are aware of how often their use of humor has created a problem. The therapeutic relationship is visualized as a triad formed among the therapist, the client, and "the problem." Major categories of humor theory are applied to actual clinical incidents. Practicing such analyses should arm therapists and (perhaps more importantly) their supervisors to predict when the use of humor is indicated.








               

© 2016, Jim Lyttle, Ph.D.