Followup: More Science Humor Exemplars to Boost Your Relational Repertoire


My last post explored how engaging with science humor can spur the development of beneficial relational repertoires. The specific focus of that post was satirical scholarly articles, but our reliable old internet also is rife with satirical news reports that draw upon, and in some way pervert, science. The key to profiting from such content, other than by scoring the occasional snicker, is to analyze the verbal behavior dynamics that it employs. To borrow from Epstein and Joker’s (2007) behavioral account of humor, key factors are what responses the real science topic in the article makes incipient, and what alternative responses are occasioned instead. The resulting incongruity reveals something about the topic or about how humans often respond to it.

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There are potential side effects to analyzing science humor, but as a fearless behavior analyst you should do it anyway.

Look, all I’m really saying is: Ask yourself why it’s funny. That will tell you something about behavior. And about science maybe. And, yeah, I’m aware of E.B. White’s famous admonition that, “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” But laughter is high-probability human behavior, and we won’t have a complete science until we make sense of it. And as my last post emphasized — you can check out the details there — when laughter derives from imaginary science, you have the opportunity to examine the derivation, and that can support a richer scientific relational repertoire.

Behavior analysts will be pleased to know that there are plenty of satirical news reports out there that deal in some way with behavior. In fact, just by consulting a single publication, The Onion (“America’s Finest News Source”), you could find enough stuff to teach a rather creative college Introductory Psychology course. Below I’ve given you a head start on your research. Just proceed with the following reader guidelines in mind:

  1. This is intended as multiple-exemplar training, which only can work if you actually reflect on the examples as described above and in my previous post.
  2. Funny is in the eye of the beholder (e.g., dependent on individual behavioral histories), so if something doesn’t strike you as funny, ignore it and move on to something else.
  3. If you don’t find any of the articles to be funny, no need to waste your time here! There are plenty of other behavior problems on which to train your functional analysis microscope. Like why lots and lots of other people have a sense of humor but you don’t.
  4. Be an adult. This is The Onion, folks. You’re going to see things that are politically incorrect, crude, inappropriate, and/or offensive. If you’re not prepared to deal with that, don’t click the links. Try viewing this instead; it’ll be more your style.
  5. None of the views expressed in the articles represent the official positions or policies of the Association for Behavior Analysis International or its officers, employees, or members (especially me). The articles can’t represent anything official because they are satirical. Geez.
  6. If you’re bothered by any of this, review Guidelines #2, #3, and #4.

Learning and Conditioning


Humans again




Delay discounting

Human Development


More sociopathy

Even more sociopathy


Sex education

More sex education

Even more sex education

Adjustment and Mental Health




Body dysmorphia


Body positivity

Marketing of behavioral services

Therapist-client dynamics

Human Evolution and Genetics

Tool use



Verbal Behavior

Eating behavior

More eating behavior





Ethological roots of sexism



Behavioral pharmacology and alligators

More dolphins

Artificial Intelligence



More emotion

Gender issues

Eating behavior



Critical race theory

Affirmative action

Domestic Animals

Dog training

Pet therapy

Pet psychopathology

Masochism in dogs

Behavioral economics


School curricula

School mental health services

School safety

Sexual Behavior