Brands are increasingly making use of social media in order to improve their image and be more connected to their stakeholders, along with aiming to attract new ones. However, with this arises potential communication issues that are not present in traditional media forms. Stakeholders now expect eye-catching posts, as well as fast and effective responses from brands. There is also increasing competition amongst brands. The use of humour is one possible way to overcome these issues, as it grabs internet users’ attention, and aids in improving attitudes towards brands. However, using humour can easily backfire or simply be ineffective if a brand is not aware of its audience. This is potentially because of different audiences reflecting different personality traits and cultural values. Even though all humanbeings use humour, it can be expressed and received differently depending on these factors. Therefore, this thesis aims to give guidance on this matter, as to how brands can effectively use humour to communicate and improve relations with their stakeholders. Thus, the thesis shall be examining the research question of ‘how do personality and culture influence individuals’ reactions to different types of humour?’. In order to answer this research question, an online study was conducted through Qualtrics with a within-subjects design. The Humour Styles Questionnaire was used as a taxonomy for the conditions used in the current study, due to the fact it takes into consideration both benign and malign forms of humour, as well as reflecting everyday humour communication. There were four conditions - representing affiliative, self-enhancing, self-defeating and aggressive humour. In order to fit the context of humour on social media, it was decided to use memes to represent each humour style. Items from the five-factor model and GLOBE questionnaires were used in order to evaluate participants’ personality traits and cultural values. In order to test the moderating effects of personality traits and cultural values on the relation of reactions to humour styles, several repeated measures ANCOVAs were conducted. The main findings were that the personality trait extraversion had a significant moderating effect on this relation. Furthermore, it was found that gender had a main effect, with females reacting more positively to all four humour styles.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, business, Humour, Personality, Culture, Memes, Social Media
Thesis Advisor J. Hofhuis
Persistent URL
Series Media & Business
B. McClelland. (2019, June 27). Memes that make me forcefully exhale through my nose (due to cultural and personal reasons) The moderating effects of personality traits and cultural values on reacting to different humour styles in memes. Media & Business. Retrieved from