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The Early Humor Survey (EHS) : a reliable parent-report measure of humor development for 1- to 47-month-olds

Hoicka, E, Soy Telli, B, Prouten, E, Leckie, G, Browne, WJ, Mireault, G and Fox, C ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4329-4056 (2021) The Early Humor Survey (EHS) : a reliable parent-report measure of humor development for 1- to 47-month-olds. Behavior Research Methods. ISSN 1554-351X

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Abstract

We created a 20-item parent-report measure of humor development from 1 to 47 months: the Early Humor Survey (EHS). We developed the EHS with Study 1 (N = 219) using Exploratory Factor Analysis, demonstrating the EHS works with 1- to 47-month-olds with excellent reliability and a strong correlation with age, showing its developmental trajectory. We replicated the EHS with Study 2 (N = 587), revealing a 1-factor structure, showing excellent reliability, and replicating a strong correlation with age. Study 3 (N = 84) found the EHS correlated with a humor experiment, however it no longer correlated once age was accounted for, suggesting low convergent validity. Subsamples of parents from Studies 2 and 3 showed excellent inter-observer reliability between both parents, and good longitudinal stability after 6 months. Combining participants from all Studies, we found the EHS is reliable across countries (Australia, United Kingdom, United States), parent education levels, and children’s age groups. We charted expected humor development by age (in months), and the expected proportion of children who would appreciate each humor type by age (in months). Finally, we found no demographic differences (e.g., country: Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States; parents’ education) in humor when pooling all data. The EHS is a valuable tool that will allow researchers to understand how humor: (1) emerges; and (2) affects other aspects of life, e.g., making friends, coping with stress, and creativity. The EHS is helpful for parents, early years educators, and children’s media, as it systematically charts early humor development.

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