Need a good laugh? Doing so may help you weather disagreements. Use of benevolent humor in conflict leads to greater relationship satisfaction, says student researcher Britney Johnson ’12, Chaska, Minn.
Johnson was one of 165 students who shared their success at the annual Celebration of Student Scholarship held at locations across campus April 12 and 13. The celebration includes 32 oral presentations, 51 posters from 16 departments and a visit to the senior art exhibition.
Their topics ranged from business fraud to Bach. Some did research on campus while others traveled as far as India or Germany to investigate.
Many students, including Johnson, have devoted more than a year to research. Johnson joined Dr. Darcie Sell’s psychology research team last spring, which consists of three senior researchers and their assistants.
Her research is an extension of Sell’s own research, which provided her with good accountability and guidance throughout the process.
“She’s been our rock and very involved,” Johnson says. “She helps us take a step back and learn.”
Johnson recorded the interactions of 10 couples and 18 sets of friends for her study. She observed their use of humor during two conflicts and then had them assess their relationship satisfaction.
“Not all of us have romantic relationships, but most of us have friends,” she says. “Communication is a fundamental part of what makes us human. Humor can help to create more satisfied relationships.”
Johnson is interested in marriage and family counseling, and her research offers her valuable insight and experience for her future. She considers her study to be one of her top experiences at Concordia.
“The best way to have a personal claim on your education is to apply your skills to a real world situation,” she says. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”