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Brain Activation during Sight Gags and Language-Dependent Humor

Summary: Brain Activation during Sight Gags and
Language-Dependent Humor
Karli K. Watson1
, Benjamin J. Matthews2
and John M. Allman1
Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology,
M/C 216-76, 1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125 and
Columbia University Medical Center, Center for
Neurobiology and Behavior, P&S 11-451, New York, NY 10032
Humor is a hallmark of human discourse. People use it to relieve
stress and to facilitate social bonding, as well as for pure enjoyment
in the absence of any apparent adaptive value. Although recent
studies have revealed that humor acts as an intrinsic reward, which
explains why people actively seek to experience and create humor,
few have addressed the cognitive aspects of humor. We used event-
related functional magnetic resonance imaging to differentiate brain
activity induced by the hedonic similarities and cognitive differences
inherent in 2 kinds of humor: visual humor (sight gags) and language-


Source: Allman, John M. - Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology


Collections: Biology and Medicine