“Just Kidding” Falls on Deaf Ears

September 25, 2006 at 3:56 pm 8 comments

Teasing taken literally is negative; teasers point out flaws, habits, questionable attire, or other traits of the target. But there are a variety of intentions for teasing. Positive intentions include to socialize, flirt, play, entertain, teach, or show affection. However, teasing can also be used for negative intentions: to humiliate, harass, or hurt the target.

Previous studies have shown that targets of the teasing often have a more negative impression of the tease than the teaser. (tongue twister alert)

To mitigate the negative intentions of the tease, people generally use gestures, facial expressions, or tone of voice to say “aha, just kidding”. However, this fails because the targets still evaluate the intentions of the teaser more negatively.

Kruger, J., Gordon, C. L., & Kuban, J. (2006). Intentions in Teasing: When “Just Kidding” Just Isn’t Good Enough. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(3), 412-425.

Entry filed under: Psychology, Sociology, Teasing.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Koorneef  |  September 28, 2006 at 1:21 am

    It’s certainly a tongue twister …. I’m missing a verb or something in that sentence.

  • 2. tastyresearch  |  September 28, 2006 at 1:24 am

    Fixed, thanks.

  • 3. marcel  |  September 28, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    that’s why I still hurt :(

  • 4. marcel  |  September 28, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    this also applies to untruthful jokes told about someone else.

    The brother of my friend once told me that his brother had had a child out of wedlock, as a joke . And he said it was a joke.

    Somehow I beleived the brother until I saw my friend 10 years later and asked, “so how are your kids.?”

  • 5. Gwen  |  October 2, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    I hadn’t really thought of it that way but now I can see how in a situation where you joke at someone’s expense can temporarily make you feel elevated to have picked on them while also appearing to be funny and quick-witted.
    This causes me to re-think “just kidding” on someone.

  • 6. dragonmommie  |  October 13, 2006 at 10:41 am

    I’ve been on both ends of a tease. When I was the one being teased, I did view it as a negative, definitely NOT a joke. Being the teaser, on the other hand, made me feel more smart and witty.

    I liked this post because I have sensed the same as you, that the same qualities spoken about were projected onto the speaker. It’s such a subtle thing that you have to go back and check it out to realize it.

  • 7. dragonmommie  |  October 13, 2006 at 10:44 am

    Further, intentions can have multiple layers. The most obvious one being a positive intention, like, showing affection. If you go a little deeper, you realize that you wanted to jab that person by illuminating their flaws… in a jokingly sort of way, of course.

  • 8. apartment security system reviews  |  June 12, 2013 at 10:23 am

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before finish I am reading this great paragraph to improve my knowledge.


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