Assess your Sense of Humor NOW before Starting the Humor Training Program

[This article contains a Sense of Humor Test.]

Over the next 2-3 months, you can do something that many think cannot be done—improve your sense of humor! I’ve had many people tell me that “You’re either born with a good sense of humor or you’re not . . . and there’s nothing I can do about it.” We now have evidence that this is NOT true. I have developed a hands-on Humor Training Program, called The 7 Humor Habits Program, which shows in a step-by-step fashion exactly what you need to do over a period of two or three months to strengthen the basic foundation components of your sense of humor so that you can use it to cope better with the daily stress in your life and boost your physical and mental health and happiness.

This Humor Training Program is presented in my book Humor as Survival Training for a Stressed-Out World: The 7 Humor Habits Program. (Click on “Books by Dr. McGhee at for ordering information.) The effectiveness of this program has been documented in the USA, Australia, Germany, Iran and Switzerland (the Appendix to the book discusses the supporting research). This program will not make you a standup comedian, but it will help you laugh more often and more heartily and boost your ability to adopt a more playful outlook on life, play with language and create your own verbal humor, find the funny stuff that’s been going on around you all the time (but you didn’t know it!) and your ability to laugh at yourself. Finally, it will help you do all of these things when you’re having a bad day (which is probably when your sense of humor abandons you now); that is, it will help you cope better in everyday life.

Next week’s (Feb. 10) article here will focus on the first Humor Habit to be cultivated as we move toward the goal of using humor to cope. But if you want to determine for yourself just how much progress you make in going through the Humor Training and doing the humor-boosting exercises and activities suggested in each weekly article here, it is important to first get some measure of your present sense of humor—including its strengths and weaknesses. To do this, take the Sense of Humor pre-test provided below. (This measure is taken from Dr. McGhee’s book, Humor as Survival Training . . . Please cite the book if you reproduce the Sense of Humor test for your own use.) This will give you a “base line” for comparison with the post-test, so that you can determine how much you’ve gained when you’ve completed this Humor Habits Training Program.  NOTE: TO  FULLY BENEFIT FROM THIS HUMOR TRAINING, YOU SHOULD GET A COPY OF THE BOOK AND FOLLOW THE FULL TRAINING PROVIDED THERE; THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES JUST GIVES YOU A LIMITED VERSION OF THE FULL TRAINING.

In addition to completing the pre-test yourself, ask another person (your spouse or a friend or colleague who knows you well) to rate your sense of humor using the same pre-test. Having other people rate you will give you a better picture of your current sense of humor; it may also surprise you. Be sure to rate yourself as honestly as possible. No one else will see your ratings, so rate yourself as you really are—not as you’d like to be. Once you’ve completed the pre-test, do not look at your answers until you’ve completed the 7HH Program and the post-test.

Sense of Humor Pre-Test

Use the 7-point scale (including #2, 4 & 6) provided here to answer the rest of the items below. Again, avoid the tendency to give what you consider a “good” answer.

1 = Strongly Disagree
3 = Mildly Disagree
5 = Mildly Agree
7 = Strongly Agree

Enjoyment of Humor

____ 1. I generally look for sit coms or other funny programs to watch on TV.
____ 2. When I pick up magazines, I generally look at the cartoons in them first.
____ 3. When I go to the movies, my preference is generally to see a good comedy.
____ 4. It is important for me to have a lot of humor in my life.
____ Total EH score (add items 1- 4)


____ 5. I have a good belly laugh many times each day.
____ 6. I have a heartier, more robust laugh than most people.
____ 7. I feel comfortable laughing, even when others aren’t.
____ 8. One or both of my parents laughed a lot when I was growing up.
____ Total L score (add items 5 – 8 )

Verbal Humor

____ 9. I often tell jokes.
____ 10. I often tell funny stories.
____ 11. I often create my own spontaneous puns.
____ 12. I often make other spontaneous witty remarks (other than 9-11).
____ Total VH score (add items 9 – 12)

Finding Humor in Everyday Life

____ 13. I often find humor in things that happen at work.
____ 14. I often find humor in things that happen at home.
____ 15. I often find humor in things that happen outside of work & family settings.
____ 16. I often share with others the funny incidents I observe, or that happen to me.
____ Total FHEL score (add items 13 – 16)

Laughing at Yourself

____ 17. I have no trouble poking fun at my physical imperfections.
____ 18. I often find humor in my own embarrassing incidents or personal blunders.
____ 19. I often share with others the humor in my blunders/embarrassing incidents.
____ 20. I find it easy to laugh when I am the butt of the joke.
____ Total LY score (add items 17 – 20)

Humor Under Stress

____ 21. My sense of humor rarely abandons me under stress.
____ 22. I often use my sense of humor to control the effect of stress on my mood.
____ 23. I often use humor at work to reduce stress and stay effective on the job.
____ 24. My sense of humor is my most effective tool in coping with life stress.
____ Total HUS score (add items 21 – 24)

____ Total Sense of Humor score (add items 1- 24)

This is your Humor Quotient. Lowest possible score = 24. Highest = 168. Your goal upon completing the 7HHP should be to score at 140 or higher.