British humor linked to genetics

March 11, 2008

Sarcasm and self-depreciation, hallmarks of British humor that don't always travel well, may be linked to genetics, a researcher said.

Rod Martin, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, said television shows such as "Fawlty Towers" and "The Office," show people in Britain enjoy cruel or dark humor more than people from other countries, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Martin and his research team surveyed 2,000 pairs of twins in Britain and 500 pairs of twins in North America.

"The British may have a greater tolerance for a wide range of expressions of humor," Martin said. "In the North American version of 'The Office,' the lead character is much less insensitive and intolerant than in the original UK version."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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