Why and When We Laugh
Cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems uncovers what’s happening in our heads when we laugh. While we typically think of humor in terms of jokes or comic timing, Weems proposes a provocative new model. Humor arises from inner conflict in the brain, he argues, and is part of a larger desire to comprehend a complex world. Showing that the delight that comes with “getting” a punch line is closely related to the joy that accompanies the insight to solve a difficult problem, Weems explores why surprise is such an important element in humor, why computers are terrible at recognizing what’s funny, and why it takes so long for a tragedy to become acceptable comedic fodder.
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