Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why by Scott Weems

By Scott Weems

Booklet ISBN: 9780465080809

Humor, like pornography, is famously tough to outline. we all know it once we see it, yet is there how to determine what we actually locate funny—and why?

In this attention-grabbing research into the technology of humor and laughter, cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems uncovers what’s taking place in our heads after we chuckle, guffaw, or double over with laughter. whereas we quite often consider humor by way of jokes or comedian timing, in Ha! Weems proposes a provocative new version. Humor arises from internal clash within the mind, he argues, and is a part of a bigger wish to understand a fancy international. displaying that the satisfaction that incorporates “getting” a punchline is heavily on the topic of the enjoyment that accompanies the perception to unravel a tricky challenge, Weems explores why shock is such a huge point in humor, why pcs are negative at spotting what’s humorous, and why it takes see you later for a tragedy to develop into appropriate comedic fodder. From the position of insult jokes to the advantage of giggling for our immune approach, Ha! unearths why humor is so idiosyncratic, and why how-to books by myself won't ever aid us develop into funnier people.

Packed with the most recent examine, illuminating anecdotes, or even a number of jokes, Ha! lifts the curtain in this so much human of characteristics. From the origins of humor in our brains to its lifestyles at the standup comedy circuit, this publication bargains a pleasant journey of why humor is so vital to our day-by-day lives.

(New York instances review)

“Humor is priceless of significant educational learn, [Weems] argues in his publication, Ha! The technology of once we snigger and Why, since it yields insights into how our brains procedure a posh international and the way that, in flip, makes us who we are.... Dr. Weems makes an exceptional case that humor makes us our greatest selves, and that we must always all snort more.... For these folks who're extra Grinch than Groucho, Dr. Weems says it really is attainable to enhance your humorousness, both via education or by means of expanding your publicity to humorous media and folks, besides plenty of perform. To his credits, he even attempted a few stand-up of his personal one evening at a membership in Baltimore. Did he kill it? it appears now not. fortunately for us, it looks like he’ll persist with his day job.”

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Extra resources for Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why

Sample text

In response to unfunny jokes, we not only fail to laugh, we miss out on the joy. That joy comes in the form of dopamine. The dopamine reward circuit is one of the brain’s most misunderstood regions, partly because it does so much. It’s important for emotions as well as memory, and has been linked with classical conditioning, aggression, and even social anxiety. indd 17 12/9/13 9:56 AM 18 〉〉 HA! 1. One of the cartoons shown to subjects while they were monitored by an MRI. For the “funny” version, the unaltered cartoon was used.

Just saw all the people crying and for some reason I imagined Sylvester Stallone, I mean Rocky, out there in the water too, yearning for Adrian,” Laura told me afterward. “And I asked, What would Rocky say? There was no getting it out of my head at that point. I wanted to cry, I really did. ” In Laura’s reaction we see another important psychological principle governing humor, which is that we react to humorous situations everywhere, and we’ve all laughed at situations that only we thought amusing.

When given thirty seconds, most were able to solve the second one. And the last one, the one with the solution cheese (the easiest of the nearly 150 original problems), was solved by 96 percent of the subjects, most in two seconds or less. Human insight is an amazing thing, and it’s especially important for humor, as we’ll soon see. Some connections between insight and humor may already be apparent, such as the close link they both share with pleasure. We enjoy coming up with solutions, whether in the form of punch lines or insight problems like the ones above.

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