At an early age you can remain indifferent to the most funny expressions, and laugh unreservedly for a casual event. How does the sense of humor develop in children? Essentially with socialization, that is, with the ability to share an experience with someone – a “workout” that starts already from the exchange of glances and smiles between mom and baby. But there are some indispensable cognitive talents to strengthen, in order to grasp irony. An article on this topic identifies three.
1. Language. The ability to express and understand what we are saying is a prerequisite for understanding the most jokes and jokes that are based on the sense of incongruity: we laugh because something seems to be “out of place” with respect to a situation. Younger children, who still lack the nuances of language, find this strange effect in physical jokes, and in the surprises of the “cucu game”. In any case, communication and sense of humor go hand in hand: knowing to grasp the jokes helps, in turn, the development of language.
2. Imagination. The ability to imagine in a different situation, with other social rules than their own, is essential to grasp the incongruity behind the jokes. It is no coincidence that this skill appears around the 12-18 months of life, the same age as the little ones begin to follow the jokes of their parents, and develop their own personal sense of humor. Around the two years, the expanding imagination allows children to start propagating their own jabs, based on interaction with objects (such as putting a plate on the head instead of the hat) or on conceptual exchanges (“the pig mu muuu “).
3. Mind theory. Knowing how to put it in the shoes of the other, knowing if he’s “pretending” or saying something different from his real intentions is a third, fundamental ingredient to seize the sense of humor. It allows a child, for example, to understand that the mother who is pursuing him by waving a wolf is just doing the part of the “bad” (and not really). This ability also allows, from 3 years – but more often around 5 – to include more sophisticated and ironic jokes (such as “Your mom will be very happy!”, Said by a puppet who just fought to break a plate) . For the development of a full and personal “sense of humor”, in short, it takes a few years of patience. But exercise is good: according to some psychologists, the more you exercise the ability to laugh, the more understanding of irony and beat improves.