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Seriousness (noun; adjective: serious) is an attitude of gravity, solemnity, persistence, and toward something considered to be of importance. Some notable philosophers and commentators have criticised excessive seriousness, while others have praised it. Seriousness is often contrasted with comedy, as in the seriocomedy. In the theory of humor, one must have a sense of humor and a sense of seriousness to distinguish what is supposed to be taken or not, or of being important or not. Otherwise, it may also be contrasted with a sense of play. How children learn a sense of seriousness to form values and differentiate between the serious and that which is not is studied in developmental psychology and educational psychology. There is a distinction between the degree of seriousness of various crimes in sentencing under the law, and also in law enforcement. There is a positive correlation with the degree of seriousness of a crime and viewer ratings of news coverage. What is or is not considered serious varies widely with different cultures.
Sometimes fields studying degrees of seriousness overlap, such as developmental psychology studies of development of the sense of degrees of seriousness as it relates to transgressions, which has overlap with criminology and the seriousness of crimes.
Some use "seriousness" as a term of praise for scholarship or in literary review. 19th century poet, cultural critic, and literary critic, Matthew Arnold said that the most important criteria used to judge the value of a poem were "high truth" and "high seriousness".
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