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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Qingwen Dong

First Committee Member

Teresa Bergman

Second Committee Member

Marlin Bates


Student intellectual stimulation, interest, and engagement within the college classroom is of great importance when attempting to heighten learning, both cognitively and affectively. Although scholars have examined predictors of student interest and engagement within the classroom setting, it has yet to be examined in correlation with an instructor’s use of humor. More specifically, student intellectual stimulation is rarely studied on its own, especially in relation to an instructor’s humor orientation. This study seeks to determine if an instructors humor orientation acts a predictor of student intellectual stimulation, engagement, and interest within the college classroom setting. This study obtained data from a sample of 337 full-time college students at two Northern California Universities. Data was collected through a self-administered paper and pencil questionnaire. Six sections of the questionnaire subsequently measured students’ perceptions of an instructor’s humor orientation, student intellectual stimulation, student interest, student engagement, demographic information on the participant, as well as the instructor that they were reporting on. The Humor Orientation scale was used to measure the dimensions of the instructor’s humor use within the classroom. The Student Intellectual Stimulation Scale (SISS) was used to examine the instructors use of intellectual stimulation within the classroom. Last, the student Interest and Engagement scales were utilized to measure the how interested and engaged students were within the reported course. This study found a statistically significant positive relationship amongst an instructors use of humor orientation and their ability to intellectually stimulate, engage, and interest students within the course. More specifically, an instructors use of humor within the classroom acted as a predictor to students being more intellectually stimulated, interested, and engaged within that given course. Furthermore, this study is of significance because it suggests that an instructor that uses humor within the classroom setting, will not only help intellectually stimulate their students, but they will also help enhance their interest, and engagement within the course, which can possibly lead to heightened cognitive and affective learning. Thus, instructors that are perceived to be funny within their respective course, are more likely to have students that are intellectually stimulated, interested, and engaged which enhances learning.



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