"You're out of your mind!": Humor as a face-saving strategy during neuropsychological examinations.

Abstract:

:This article presents a sociolinguistic analysis of humor as a face-saving device in a memory clinic. Data for this article were transcripts of audiotaped clinical examinations between 4 clinicians and 17 patients, conducted at the Memory and Alzheimer's Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco. The study focused on the functions of humor and the complexity involved in examining those functions. Four aspects of humor were examined: (a) who initiates humor, (b) what topics the humor is based on, (c) what the function of the humor is, and (d) who the focus of the humor is. Results indicated that dementia patients initiated a greater number of humor exchanges than did clinicians or third-party observers. In particular, patients initiated a greater number of a specific kind, called dominant humor, with which the initiator controls the interaction. In spite of the power differential between patients and clinicians, dementia patients asserted some dominance over a face-threatening situation. These findings imply the need for further research on nurturing, as well as communicative training of family and caregivers of dementia patients to enhance successful communication and thus successful life experiences for these patients.

journal_name

Health Commun

journal_title

Health communication

authors

Saunders PA

doi

10.1207/s15327027hc1004_4

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1998-01-01 00:00:00

pages

357-72

issue

4

eissn

1041-0236

issn

1532-7027

journal_volume

10

pub_type

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