The theory says 'humour only occurs when something seems wrong, unsettling, or threatening, but simultaneously seems okay, acceptable or safe'.
By contrast, more sophisticated forms of humour such as satire require an understanding of its social meaning and context, and thus tend to appeal to the mature audience.
Many theories exist about what humour is and what social function it serves.
The prevailing types of theories attempting to account for the existence of humour include psychological theories, the vast majority of which consider humour-induced behaviour to be very healthy; spiritual theories, which may, for instance, consider humour to be a "gift from God"; and theories which consider humour to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience.
The benign-violation theory, endorsed by Peter Mc Graw, attempts to explain humour's existence.
Though ultimately decided by personal taste, the extent to which a person finds something humorous depends on a host of variables, including geographical location, culture, maturity, level of education, intelligence and context.