Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2020-07-29, 20:12 authored by Soumya AgrawalSoumya Agrawal

The fact that every individual has a different sense of humor and it varies greatly from one person to another means that it is a challenge to learn any individual’s humor preferences. Humor is much more than just a source of entertainment; it is an essential tool that aids communication. Understanding humor preferences can lead to improved social interactions and bridge existing social or economic gaps.

In this study, we propose a methodology that aims to develop a recommendation system for jokes by analyzing its text. Various researchers have proposed different theories of humor depending on their area of focus. This exploratory study focuses mainly on Attardo and Raskin’s (1991) General Theory of Verbal Humor and implements the knowledge resources defined by it to annotate the jokes. These annotations contain the characteristics of the jokes and also play an important role in determining how alike these jokes are. We use Lin’s similarity metric (Lin, 1998) to computationally capture this similarity. The jokes are clustered in a hierarchical fashion based on their similarity values used for the recommendation. We also compare our joke recommendations to those obtained by the Eigenstate algorithm (Goldberg, Roeder, Gupta, & Perkins, 2001), an existing joke recommendation system that does not consider the content of the joke in its recommendation.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Computer and Information Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Julia Taylor Rayz

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. John Springer

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Victor Raskin