This Is Your Brain on Jokes

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“Well, anytime you find yourself making an error, it’s a downer initially. The initial emotional response to any discovery of error in your understanding of the world has got to be ‘uh oh.’ But in humor, the brain doesn’t just discover a false inference, it almost simultaneously recovers and corrects itself. It gets the joke. The pleasure of the punch line is enhanced by that split second of negativity just before the resolution.”

The Boston Globe asks graduate student and author Matthew Hurley about the link between cognition and humor.


Maria Chiang is a usually a fun person. More from this author →