Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

Committee Chair

Robert D. Duval

Committee Co-Chair

Nicholas Bowman

Committee Member

Erin C. Cassese

Committee Member

John Kilwein

Committee Member

Philip A. Michelbach


Political humor plays a positive role in American democracy. It increases the political awareness and interest of the audience. There is a growing body of literature, both empirical and theoretical, that looks at role of political humor in American politics. In line with some of this literature, the present dissertation examines how The Colbert Report (in both video and single image meme formats) encourages the survey participants towards seeking more information about an important domestic issue: the fiscal cliff crisis.;Using two parallel experimental surveys, this dissertation empirically investigates the effect that political humor has on viewers. This dissertation tests whether or not participants that received the political humor frame are more likely to seek for more information on the topic. Secondly, this dissertation explores the possibility that political humor also inspires participants to spend more time on seeking out information. The investigation includes an experiment using videos as well as for an experiment involving single images memes. This dissertation builds upon existing studies on political humor effects in the field of political communication, and contributes to existing research on information seeking behavior in political psychology.