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El pase del año: BENEDICTO ADMITE HABERSE HECHO MUSULMÁN

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NUEVA SEDE
Tucumán 3035, aula 12: estamos Abriendo  la inscripción para El Curso de Humor del primer cuatrimenstre En el Centro Cultural Rojas cOn cambio de día y horArio, no solo de sede: martes de 18 a 20 hs, del 9 de abril al 28 de mayo, ocho encuentros de dos horas cada uno,  coordenadas que se mantendrán para el del 4 de junio al 30 de julio, cambio y fuera de aquí...

El dramaturgo y amigo personal Oscar Saimolovich, con quien trabé contacto durante el primer taller de sátira que dicté, además de profesarme el natural cariño que toda bondadosa y sensible persona no puede evitar sentir al creer reconocer a otra, siempre me felicita por la agudeza y precisión de mi memoria, dado que reproduzco con minucias y detalles, si mal no recuerdo, lo conversado en el decurso del curso. Se podría debatir largamente acerca de lo triste que es ser admirado por aquello por lo cual uno no desea ser admirado, pero en cierto sentido funciona como en el amor: lo importante es que te amen, si es por la forma de tus pestañas y no porque corrés maratones, quizá mejor, dormido también tenés esa forma de pestañas. No quisiera perder la antecitada y  equivocada u oblicua modalidad de estima (el "Oscar a la memoria", digamos), máxime luego de una discusión que ya tuvimos respecto de la inconveniencia de llevarse bien con la ex (...de él).
El mièrcoles conocí a la nueva camada de víctimas propiciatorias y conejillos de Indias que no diferían inmensamente en su trama etaria como suele pasar con la bolsa de gatos que conglomeran los cursos subsidiados, now that the cat is out of the bag.
Si nada de lo que cuento a continuación es muy inteligible, es porque este nuevo grupo necesita estímulo y en algún sentido una nueva forma de terapia y no una representación tan gayfriendly como filosemita y exhibì-Sionista: necesitan instrumentar tècnicas para distenderse mediante lo risueño o lo explosivamente desopilante en su vida cotidiana, en su trabajo, en su desocupaciòn, es decir, en una rutina neurològica en la que han caìdo y que es imprescindible intimarlos a descircuitizar. La intimidad no tiene nada que ver, la intimidad no se da nunca en el seno ìntimo de la relaciòn con uno mismo, asì que no hay jugosos chismes, sino una retracción de autoretiro espiritual y un curso de chisteayuda.
Un alumno vino porque está rehabilitándose de una operación de cadera, se llama Ezequiel y cuando leí el monólogo de Benigni sobre los pecados capitales usé ese nombre ("No soy soberbio, no me llamo el Dios, soy Ezequiel") en lugar del que figuraba (Guido) aplicando la ley del contrabandear aquí y ahoras en todo lo viejo y de paso autoacariciándo simbòlicamente mi paternidad en el Nombre Del Hijo.
Además interumpí el apartado sobre la envidia para mostrar cómo podemos volver graciosa cualquier alteración que se atenga a una lógica extrapolada: si le cambiamos de pecado capital a Freud la envidia de pene podemos hablar de avaricia de pene, ira de pene o hasta de gula de pene...
Este Ezequiel no me dijo nada acerca de que la gallina de los huevos de oro en inglès se dice el ganso de los huevos de oro (no en el sentido testicular del tèrmino) ni observó políglotamente que en alemàn el conejo de Pascuas es una liebre. Así que lo comento yo al pasar metiendo de prepo esta informaciòn que nada tiene que ver con la misma desenvoltura o encajándolo tan a a la fuerza como las condensaciones de las palabras en la teoría freudiana del chiste.
(¿sería una palabra compuesta la chocotorta en vení a probarla empieza con cho y termina con tá? La actual catarsis de las malas palabras en Zambayonny, los hermanos Farrely, Barcelona, hace tiempo Pinti, el cambio periodístico que ya no dice "el asesino le espetó correte c...de m... h...de remilp....te voy a c..." con esos puntos suspensivos en cierto sentido màs potentes por alusivos, ni como lo formuló Mauricio sin advertir que podái incurrir en una grosería peor el periodismo radial "pone el pito", todo esto hace que haya que revisar el concepto de ahorro de energìa de lo reprimido, al menos en el remate...en el chiste de "soy paraguayo y vengo para cogerme a su hija" "¿para qué?" "paraguayo" el componente sexual está al principio y la gracia reside en el camino que se sigue pro una mala inteligencia de la pregunta)
Le expliqué al tocayo filial que Ezequiel es el nombre que le puse a mi hijo, no porque "I'm crazy about that name and I love everything about it" como se estila decir, sino porque era el mal menor. Y Ezequiel dijo que le pasó lo mismo y que le iban a poner como sus abuelos, Robustiano o Severino o nombres por el estilo. 
 Susana se anotó está desocupada y quiere incrementar el humor en su vida, pero no para conseguir trabajo, eso lo dejo muy en claro. Dice disfrutar pasivamente del humor pero no ser tan capaz de generar chistes a pesar de lo cual cuando describiò para un recièn llegado la operación de cadera de Ezequiel con innecesarios eufemismos que insinuaban enfermedades espantosas pareció poseer dotes de resignificación y desvío, retención de información y malversación semàntica. Paula acaba de volver de Japón, está a punto de cambiar de trabajo y tener empleados a su cargo y necesita humor para manejar un grupo de subordinados. El curso de verano cuesta 180 pesos y Jacinta llegó quince minutos tarde, es decir, tiró 18 pesos a la basura: se trata de otra alumna que se autodefine como depresiva o deprimente, una pintora de murales que va a domicilio y que considerá muy pintón a Hernán. Hernán es a todas luces quien se posiciona un escaloncito por encima en materia de pràctica humorìstica (¿o nos lo sugirió así su personalidad màs canchera?), dado que ha trabajado en publicidad y escribe regularmente para diversas revistas (¿o deberìamos decir revistas de la diversidad?).
Entre los reincidentes que quieren estudiar el humor desde otro àngulo o suponen como dijo Andre Guide que todo fue dicho ya pero como nadie escucha... se encontraban Olga, que nos sorprendió con la noticia de que Alberto Samid es uno de los mejores jugadores de ajedrez del mundo (Mauricio hizo un guiño: los judíos somos los mejores jugadores de ajedrez, Moisés hizo tablas con Dios). Elizabetha, quien pagó su derecho a asistir a las clases con caviar rojo ruso traído por sus padres que ya no la van a desheredar por haber dejado a su primer y adinerado esposo por un argentino "MVERTO DE HAMBRE", e Ignacio, quien agradeció mi mención al psicólogo norteamericano, autor del concepto de "indefensión aprendida" Martin Seligman (cuando comenté el libro "La auténtica felicidad" en el que se demuestra que los argentinos somos más felices que los japoneses y los casados y que vivimos, valga la redundancia en dictadura, màs que los que sufren viudez, democracia, soletería, o anarquismo).
La presencia de Ignacio fue especialmente interesante porque junto con Mauricio pudieron comparar este lecciòn inaugural con la del año pasado. Mauricio habìa quedado tan entusiasmado el año pasado que escribiò el delicioso librito "¿Quièn es von Bruer?" en el que narra anécdotas del curso, conceptos y hace lucir sus brillantes escritos. Ignacio para mi autèntica felicidad dijo que la calse que di el mièrcoles pasado fue mejor que la primera del año pasado, que se me ve mucho mejor, que fui màs pedagógico, que ejercí mi responsabilidad de formar sin rebajar el nivel, o sea que enseñé antes de que leyéramos "Zapatillas" de Etgar Keret, brevemente el poema "Fuga de muerte" de Celàn y comenté que refutaba la sentencia de Adorno "Después de Auschwitz no hay poesía" tanto como Keret refuta el que no haya humor y nunca condescendí a decir que la sentencia le quedó de Adorno.
Con la militancia gaylésbica ejemplificamos el valor de tomar un insulto y convertirlo en bandera. Lo hicimosd màs con la palabra "queer" que con "gay" que no nos pareció tan estoicamete peyorativa a redireccionar. Imaginamos "la marcha del orgullo puto de mierda" o "La marcha del orgullo culorroto" y conjeturamos que al igual que la definición del humor de Schopenhauer "Poner algo donde no va" es abarcativa pero no se ciñe lo suficiente, dado que culorrotos son también muchas mujeres que gozan de las mieles y las mantecas del sodomicato (este sufrimiento ha gozado cambios, digo este goce ha sufrido cambios, pero de esto conviene hablar a posteriori, de espaldas a este asunto, Galeano define al amigo como quien te critica de frente y elogia a tus espaldas, pero al empezar a elogiar tus espaldas puede llegar a convertirse en algo más que amigo y hay que tener espalda para aguantar la maledicencia de lso vecinos que te escupen de frente, como amigos según la galeánica definición).
Aunque la edad de una dama no deba sino ser dràsticamente reducida, tanto Susana como Jacinta carecen de edad real como llamarse con nombres de dos o tres generaciones anteriores, de manera que todo, desde el aula 13 que siguió ocupada y por un error nos había sido asignada hasta mi indumentaria, traje armani con sandalias, algo que no resultó cómico pero sí ilustrativo de cómo la mejor comicidad se logra entreverando elementos serios, todo conspiró para alimentar la sensación del absurdo.
Hablamos de la falta de sentido del humor japonesa (en Wikipedia figuran seis humoristas nipones, tres de ellos están presos y otro es un director de cine serio) y hablamos de Argentina y Japón como antípodas excepcionales para las leyes clásicas de la economía.
Nos preguntamos por el límite del humor y allí fue cuando llegamos a la conclusión de que no íbamos a someternos a sobreadaoptar los más geniales chistes a la susceptibilidad arbitraria de determinada comunidad, determinadas convenciones o la hipersensibilidad de alguna persona: la experiencia de Hernàn en la Pcia de Bs As (en Suipacha) ofendiendo a provincianos pendencieros y solemnes y haciendo ladrar a lso perros de San Ernulfo con sus dichos acerca de la prematura y exclusiva consagración a la reproducción de la especie nos lo confirmó. Este curso va a estar dedicado a perfeccionar nuestro cerebro para hacernos chistes a nosotros mismos. No vamos a cuadricularnos la cabeza para otros, vamos a mantener la incólumne rebeldía, pero y esto sea dicho sin ànimo de ofender a pacatas y puritanos porque carece de acepción erotómana, "de la boca para adentro..."
 Leímos irreverencias de Mark Twain también, aunque la consigna de parodiar las Escrituras quedó anacrónica, y resultó más libre: el alumno tiene que satirizar ahora algo que reverencie o tema, aunque ya no tenga nada que ver con Dios.
Leímos de la revista "Muy interesante" de dicimebre del año pasado un reportaje al biólogo molecular Estanislao Bachrach (el autor del best-seller "Ágil Mente") que confirma lo que vengo diciendo desde que soy profesor de humor: que la creativdad no surge con esfuerzos intencionados, sino con relajaciones muy placenteras ("A los grandes innovadores no se les ocurren las mejores ideas cuando están sentados en sus oficinas. Ni siquiera cuando están trabajando. Son creativos cuando juegan con sus hijos en el jardín, cuando están en el subte, cuando juegan al fútbol. En la ducha, yendo a correr, en el auto. Cuando el cerebro está más relajado, aparecen más ideas. Pensar  de manera creativa siempre requiere la habilidad de generar asociaciones y conexiones entre temas diferentes...")
Comenté que según recientes hallazgos decodificar humor requiere la intervención de la amígdala pero tranquilicé a los extirpados aclarando que en latín amígdala significa avellana y que muchas partes del cuerpo que se parecían según el que las estudió a una avellana se llaman así, acaso porque su propia esposa llamaba a su propio, bueno, no importa, la cuestión es que hay una parte del cerebro que se llama así, por un tema morfológico, como el 29 en la quiniela que es las tetas pero figura como "los cerros", por morfología (el 27 que es "el pene erecto" no figura como un obelisco, sino por fonología como el "peine" en la versión oficial apta para todo público que sueña con cerros y peines). Cuando expliqué el oximoron hablando de "helado caliente", "graciosa torpeza" e "inteligencia militar", Ezequiel señaló que la palabra "inteligencia" tiene otro significado en el campo semàntico militar (así como "distracción", etc.). Por lo tanto no se requiere de especial lucidez para hacer un trabajito de "inteligencia". Me vi en la ambidiextra situación de felicitarlo por lo atinado de su comentario, pero de exhortar a los espíritus que velaban la animada, digo que animaban la velada a nocaer nunca si queremos ser humoristas en esa superyoica brillantez: el humor requiere abandonarnos a la falta de rigor, escindir las cadenas usuales. Ezequiel pensó que lo estaba apostrofando anatemizadoramente y prometió no volver a interrumpir (una disculpa tan exagerada que parecía irónica a pesar de que explicamos que la ironía puede ser didácticamente grosera o pegada tanto a la realidad-veasé Borges-que es apenas detectable). Tuve que decirle que soy solipsista y que no creo en la realidad física de la existencia de alumnos en este aula, solo estoy hablando conmigo mismo y con unas ensoñaciones que me sirven de pretexto para aclararme las ideas y que lo que le dije es lo que me digo a mí mismo cada vez que se me ocurre un buen juego de palabras y me lo censuro diciendo que no es tan elegante porque la filología indicaría que etimológicamente en realidad vienen de la misma raíz esos vocablos. Así que el humorismo después de estas aclaraciones (solo creo que existo yo en el mundo, no sé por qué los demàs no creen lo mismo) quedó definido como una suerte de espíritu crítico del pensamiento crítico que casi parecería celebrar la estupidez. Hubo buenos efectos cómicos cuando expliqué que ahora la marcha del orgullo no requiere tanta valentía, que antes "nos" pegaban, digo, les pegaban...volví a usar esa simulación de confusión y el nosotros inclusivo cuando tomamos a Hitler como símbolo del extremo del mal para mostrar que el límite del humor, en el sentido del alcance de su poderío, es deprimente: a Hitler le encantaba "El gran dictador" y hacía chistes (como el de Beethoven y el jazz) y metátesis (que es la mezcla endogámica de elementos como decir que la cita hubiera salido bien si la chica hubiera estado tan caliente como la cerveza: "es mejor un final caótico que un caos sin fin"). Conté còmo es bueno saber meterse la lengua en el upite, como hizo Brecht perseguido por el maccarthismo, a diferencia del locuaz Wilde: es una delicia leer su defensa ingeniosa que le valió dos años de trabajos forzados y morir prematuramente por haberle perdido el sabor a la vida, mientras decepciona un poco ver a Brecht haciendose el boludo "no entiendo la palabra communist, repita la pregunta". Brecht llamaba el pintor de borcha gorda a Hitler (Der Anstreicher", reconozco que no es lo peor que se puede decir del responsable de 50 millones de muertes prematuras) burlándose de sus veleidades artísticas. Caprichos e "inspiraciones de las musas" que lo llevaron a contrariar el plan maestro de competentes generales ("eso de la bomba nuclear es un engañapichangas, vamos para adelante con los aviones a chorro") y por eso perdimos, digo "perdieron" la guerra los alemanes.
Viendo estos límites del humor Ezequiel mencionó un escrito en el que uno de sus personajes componía una canción de alabanza a Videla y Hernán sugirió que si el personaje es tarado, el respeto por los derechos humanos por parte del autor queda explicitado. Nos burlamos de lo polìticamente correcto, una hipocresía coyuntural que no presupone cambio de conciencia sino rótulos maquillados. Le dijimos que si bien el rock nacional se lo debía todo a Galtieri, está pésimo apoyar a Videla: es a Massera al que hay que alabar, su línea incluye bomboncitos como Grá Alfano. Mencionamos que "lo que es demasiado estúpido para ser dicho siempre puede ser cantado" por obra y gracia de la vehiculización fluída que la música obra sobre la palabra...Advertimos cómo el sonsonete bobalicón convierte en frívola la hondura de la sensibilidad social de Manuel Darío en el sketch de Les Luthiers de "UNEN CANTO CON HUMOR", pero que al mismo tiempo dota al "Bombita" ROdriguez de Capusotto de mayor contenido del que parece. Reflexionamos acerca de lo distinto que es el momento de producción de un chiste de juzgarlo por sus efectos y recomendé que parafraseen canciones, no solo porque la estructura a retocar ya está dada y es un procedimiento de comicidad relativamente al alcance de todo el mundo, sino porque es un alumnado algo apagado, algo aletargado, algo aplacado y no me importanta tanto si terminan haciendo chistes pésimos como que se mantengan más o menos contentos intentando hacerlos mientras cantan. Pocas cosas contribuyen màs a la felicidad que, como dijimos con Galeano aunque el tema nos toque a todos, al grueso digamos, los cantos. 
Cuando leì el chiste de que Dios es avaro porque les dio a los judíos la tierra prometida y no concedida, se riéron antes de tiempo creyendo que el blanco del chiste es la avaricia judía. Estas desinteligencias son benèficas, cuando se espera el chiste y no existe la sorpresa al respecto, se genera el suspenso humorìstico donde la anticipación aumenta y prolonga el placer y además tiñe a todo el universo de potencial irrisorio. Se espera el "còdigo segundo" que convierta lúdicamente una cosa en la otra, la clase fue el 27 que en la quiniela es el peine, por motivos fonéticos, dado que el verdadero sueño al que corresponde es el pene erecto (el 28, que son las tetas, en cambio se llama oficialmente "los cerros" es decir por contigüidad morfologica)
Hablamos de la consigna de escribir sobre uno mismo (que es màs incòmodo como dijo Dalmiro que escribir sobre un escritorio) y del placer de abrirle la tranquera a la vanidad, que no hay que exhibir pero nos da el mayor deleite, es como los genitales. Creo que llegué a explicar que es otro de los grandes desubrimientos de Freud, que, digamos, es mejor partir del narcisismo que llegar a él. No sé si llegué a explicarlo porque soy solo un humilde profesor al que por mitvos políticos no concedieron el Premio Nobel todavía...

 
   Humor Comprehension and Appreciation:
An fMRI Study
Angela Bartolo1, Francesca Benuzzi1, Luca Nocetti2, Patrizia Baraldi1,
and Paolo Nichelli1
Abstract
& Humor is a unique ability in human beings. Suls [A twostage
model for the appreciation of jokes and cartoons. In
P. E. Goldstein & J. H. McGhee (Eds.), The psychology of
humour. Theoretical perspectives and empirical issues. New
York: Academic Press, 1972, pp. 81–100] proposed a two-stage
model of humor: detection and resolution of incongruity.
Incongruity is generated when a prediction is not confirmed
in the final part of a story. To comprehend humor, it is
necessary to revisit the story, transforming an incongruous
situation into a funny, congruous one. Patient and neuroimaging
studies carried out until now lead to different outcomes.
In particular, patient studies found that right brain-lesion
patients have difficulties in humor comprehension, whereas
neuroimaging studies suggested a major involvement of the
left hemisphere in both humor detection and comprehension.
To prevent activation of the left hemisphere due to language
processing, we devised a nonverbal task comprising cartoon
pairs. Our findings demonstrate activation of both the left and
the right hemispheres when comparing funny versus nonfunny
cartoons. In particular, we found activation of the right inferior
frontal gyrus (BA 47), the left superior temporal gyrus (BA 38),
the left middle temporal gyrus (BA 21), and the left cerebellum.
These areas were also activated in a nonverbal task exploring
attribution of intention [Brunet, E., Sarfati, Y., Hardy-Bayle, M. C.,
& Decety, J. A PET investigation of the attribution of intentions
with a nonverbal task. Neuroimage, 11, 157–166, 2000]. We
hypothesize that the resolution of incongruity might occur
through a process of intention attribution. We also asked subjects
to rate the funniness of each cartoon pair. A parametric
analysis showed that the left amygdala was activated in relation
to subjective amusement. We hypothesize that the amygdala
plays a key role in giving humor an emotional dimension. &
INTRODUCTION
A Theory of Humor
Humor has been defined as ‘‘. . .one element of the
comic. . .[that] denotes a smiling attitude toward
life and its imperfections: an understanding of the
incongruities of existence’’ (Ruch, 2001, p. 411).
Recently, Suls (1972) proposed an ‘‘Incongruity-
Resolution theory,’’ according to which the ability to
comprehend humor is crucially dependent upon the
ability to resolve the incongruity between the punch
line and the expectations shaped by the storyline. This
theory separates humor into two distinct states: surprise
and coherence (Brownell, Michel, Powelson, & Gardner,
1983). Surprise is a feeling generated by an unexpected
situation. To comprehend a joke, however, one must
go beyond the state of surprise and formulate a new,
coherent interpretation of the information.
The perceiver of the humor recognizes the incongruity
between the punch line and what she was expecting
and, consequently, embarks on a sort of problem-solving
exercise, in which she/he is required to transform
nonsense into humorous sense. Suls (1972) suggested
that the resolution of this incongruity constitutes a
problem-solving task. To transform an incongruous situation
into a funny, congruous one, the subject must
apply a logic, semantic, or episodic operator. The logic
operator is employed in the processing of puns or
riddles. The semantic operator is employed when comprehension
of the humor depends on a semantic knowledge
of the characters involved (e.g., political jokes).
The episodic operator is generally applied in the processing
of funny stories or comic cartoons, in which the
subject has to revisit the episodes previously presented
in order to understand the humor they are trying to
convey.
To distinguish between the ability to get jokes and
simple task-solving ability, Ruch and Hehl (1998) integrated
Suls’s two-stage cognitive model with another
1Universita` di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy, 2Struttura
Complessa di Fisica Sanitaria, Azienda Ospedaliera di Modena,
Italy
D 2006 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 18:11, pp. 1789–1798
stage, that of detecting that the resolution is not really
making sense as it is only an ‘‘as-if’’ resolution.
Patient and Neuroimaging Studies
A number of patient and neuroimaging studies of humor
have been interpreted within the framework of the
Incongruity-Resolution theory (Suls, 1972). However,
results obtained in brain-damaged patients have not
always been consistent with the findings produced by
functional neuroimaging studies (for a complete review,
see Wild, Rodden, Grodd, & Ruch, 2003).
Studies of patients found that those with right (RBD)
rather than left brain damage (LBD) were more impaired
in humor tasks, yet functional neuroimaging studies
have stressed the role of the left hemisphere in processing
humor. In particular, Bihrle, Brownell, Powelson,
and Gardner (1986) found that the RBD patients performed
worse than the LDB patients on both the verbal
and nonverbal completion task. Furthermore, qualitative
differences emerged between them with regard to
the errors committed. In particular, in line with previous
studies (Brownell et al., 1983; Wapner, Hamby, &
Gardner, 1981), Bihrle et al. found that RBD patients
retained a sensitivity to the surprise element of humor,
but were less able to recognize coherence. Conversely,
the LBD patients showed an impaired sensitivity to the
surprise element of humor, but conserved the ability to
integrate contents across parts of a narrative. Shammi
and Stuss (1999) tested a series of brain-damaged patients
and found that the patients most affected were
the ones with right polar frontal lesions.
It is worth noting that patients with language deficits
were often excluded from humor tasks. In particular,
some authors excluded patients with left prefrontal
lesions (Bihrle et al., 1986) on the grounds that the
verbal task was too linguistically complex for them
(Wapner et al., 1981). Also, a visual task was deemed
too difficult for brain-lesion patients due to the number
of visual details that had to be assimilated in order to
detect the humor (Shammi & Stuss, 1999).
The first functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI) study of humor (in the form of verbal jokes)
was carried out by Goel and Dolan (2001). These
authors found that humor appreciation was associated
with activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (BA
10/11) and the bilateral cerebellum. They also separated
phonological from semantic humor perception. Their
results showed that phonological jokes (e.g., puns)
activated the left temporal (BA 37) and left frontal gyrus
(BA 44/45), whereas semantic jokes activated the right
temporal (BA 21/37) and left temporal gyrus (BA 20/37).
Recently, Moran, Wig, Adams, Janata, and Kelley
(2004) conducted an fMRI study using videos from the
Seinfeld and Simpson series in order to dissociate
humor detection (getting the incongruity) from humor
appreciation (solving the incongruity). According to
their findings, humor detection was associated with
activation in the left inferior frontal and posterior middle
temporal cortices, whereas brain activity during humor
appreciation activated bilaterally the insular cortex and
the amygdala. However, they did not ask subjects to rate
videos as funny or not, and thereby failed to consider
the wide variability of humor appreciation (Coulson &
Kutas, 2001).
Mobbs, Greicius, Abdel-Azim, Menon, and Reiss
(2003) presented a series of cartoons with captions
and asked subjects to indicate whether they were funny
or not. The authors found that humor detection engages
a subcortical network, including, among others, the
nucleus accumbens, which plays a key role in reward
mechanisms (Schultz, 2002). They also found an activation
cluster centered in the left temporo-occipital junction
and extending into the fusiform gyrus (BA 37)
(Mobbs et al., 2003). The authors claimed that this
region was involved in processing the surprise element
of jokes, playing a role in the early stages of the humor
network. A second cluster, possibly related to processing
linguistic coherence, was observed in a region including
Broca’s area (BA 44/45) and extending ventrally to the
temporal pole (BA 38).
Overall, imaging studies demonstrate that humor
comprehension is associated with activation of the left
hemisphere, especially the temporal and frontal portions.
However, this finding conflicts with the evidence
derived from brain-damaged patients, who demonstrate
a lack of humor comprehension following right rather
than left hemisphere damage.
This conflict may be attributable to the material adopted
to study humor comprehension. Indeed, the use of
verbal material might constitute a bias for left hemisphere
activation in neuroimaging studies (even though a left
hemisphere lesion can affect story comprehension even
in a nonverbal format) (Bihrle et al., 1986).
For these reasons, we believe that nonverbal material
is more appropriate for studying the functional neuroanatomy
of humor comprehension.
Nonverbal Cartoons and Theory of Mind
Previous studies including nonverbal cartoons were
carried out to investigate brain-damaged patients’ ability
to attribute mental states (Happe´, Brownell, & Winner,
1999), which is a Theory of Mind (ToM) skill (Premack &
Woodruff, 1978). ToM includes, among others, the
ability to infer beliefs, wishes, and intentions of other
people in order to predict their behavior. In the study of
Happe´ et al. (1999), the nonverbal material was characterized
by single cartoons, where either false belief or
ignorance to one or more of the characters in the
picture was crucial for comprehension. Interestingly,
attribution of mental state and attribution of intention
activate different regions, as shown by the following two
neuroimaging studies.
1790 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 18, Number 11
In an fMRI study, Gallagher et al. (2000) contrasted
cartoons where the attribution of mental state (ignorance
or false belief ) was required to non-ToM cartoons.
They found regions of increased brain activity in the
medial prefrontal cortex bilaterally (BA 8), the right
medial frontal gyrus (BA 6), the right temporo-parietal
junction (BA 40), the precuneus (BA 7/31), and the
fusiform gyrus (BA 20/36) bilaterally.
On the other hand, Brunet, Sarfati, Hardy-Bayle, and
Decety (2000), using positron emission tomography,
investigated the neural substrate involved in attributing
intentions to others. They presented, in the upper
half of the screen, a series of cartoon strips. Each series
of three pictures described a short story. Three
answer pictures were shown in the lower half of the
screen. Subjects were asked to choose from these
answer pictures the one showing the logical ending of
the story. In one condition (attribution of intention to
characters, AI), the correct picture could be guessed
only by inferring the intentions of the characters,
whereas in the other two conditions—involving physical
causality with characters (PC-Ch) and with objects
(PC-Ob), respectively—it was sufficient to comprehend
the physical relationship of cause and effect. Comparison
of the AI condition with PC-Ch showed increases
of regional cerebral blood f low in the right medial
frontal gyrus (BA 9), right inferior frontal gyrus (BA 47),
right inferior temporal gyrus (BA 20), left superior temporal
gyrus (BA 38), left cerebellum, bilateral anterior
cingulate cortex (BA 24), and middle temporal gyri
(BA 21).
For the study presented here, we devised an fMRI
experiment involving the presentation to the subjects of
either neutral or funny cartoon pairs. We did not make
use of verbal humoristic material to circumvent the
possible interference of linguistic processes.
In our funny cartoon pairs, the incongruity derives
from a disconfirmation of the intentions initially attributed
to the characters in the first cartoon. The expected
ending is disconfirmed at the appearance of the second
cartoon and, to reconcile with this incongruity, it is
necessary to attribute to the cartoon characters a different
intention. Processing of our funny cartoon pairs is
therefore characterized by the following steps, illustrated
in relation to Figure 1A and B:
Reading of the narrative schema, which generates an
expectation: In Figure 1A, a person is drowning and
another person is going to help him/her.
Detection of incongruity caused by a disconfirmation of
the ending predicted on the base of the narrative
schema: The first person is still drowning, but the
other person is walking away (Figure 1B).
Resolution of the incongruity: The passerby did not
intend to help the drowning person, but instead to
steal his/her watch.
A feeling of amusement.
We set out to investigate the different components of
humor, that is, detection and resolution of incongruity
and the feeling of amusement.
We anticipate that the achieved results suggest an
involvement of both the right and left hemispheres in
processing humoristic stimuli. Furthermore, we found
activations of regions commonly involved in attribution
of intention to characters (Brunet et al., 2000). We discuss
this result in the light of a new approach to humor
comprehension for episodic cartoons.
METHODS
Subjects
Twenty-one right-handed healthy volunteers, 8 men and
13 women, participated in this study. Their ages ranged
from 23 to 36 years (mean age = 28.1 years, SD =
4 years; mean education = 14 years, SD = 2.3 years).
Handedness was determined by means of the Edinburgh
Inventory Scale (Oldfield, 1971). All the subjects
had normal or corrected-to-normal visual acuity,
and gave formal consent to participate in this study.
The subjects were paid for their participation or received
university credits. This study was approved by
the Ethics Committee of the University of Modena and
Reggio Emilia.
Material
The fMRI experiment was carried out using an eventrelated
design. Each event stimulus consisted of two
cartoons, a storyline begun in the first cartoon and
ended in the second in either a funny or a neutral way
(Figure 1A and B shows an example of a funny pair).
Figure 1. (A, B) Example of a funny cartoon pair.
Bartolo et al. 1791
Seventy-two stimuli were initially chosen from an on-line
database, containing different types of cartoon (www.
tuttogratis.it/attualita/vignette_umoristiche_gratis.html).
Then, to select the set of stimuli to be presented
during the experimental sessions, 15 subjects were
asked to rate the cartoon pairs on a scale of 0 (not
funny) to 6 (very funny). Forty-three cartoon pairs
rating >2.5 were included in the set of funny stimuli.
Five independent raters checked the funny stimuli to
include in the experimental set only those cartoon
pairs requiring an effort to attribute intention to characters
for the comprehension of the story. On this
basis, 2 out of the 43 funny stimuli were excluded from
the analyses.
Twenty-two cartoon pairs rating 0 formed the set of
neutral stimuli. All the stimuli were in black and white.
During the fMRI experiment, each subject performed
five sessions, three including the presentation of nine
funny and four neutral stimuli, and two the presentation
of eight funny and five neutral stimuli. To get subjects
acquainted with the task, they were administered a
series of five cartoon pairs before the experimental
phase. Visual stimuli were presented using a monitor
positioned above the head coil (IFIS-MRI Devices, Wisconsin,
USA). Responses were given using two buttons.
Accuracy and response time data were collected during
the scanning sessions by means of custom-made software
developed in Visual Basic 6 (http://web.tiscali.it/
MarcoSerafini/stimoli_video/).
Each event lasted for 18 sec, with stimulus beginning
after 1.5 sec delay and cartoons remained on the screen
for a duration of 3 sec each. A 0.5-sec interval elapsed
between the presentation of the two cartoons making
up each pair. Then a 10-sec interval followed. Overall
each session lasted for 3.9 min.
To reduce movement artifacts, we have asked subjects
not to laugh while they were inside the scanner. Subjects
were instructed to indicate soon after the presentation
of the second cartoon, by pressing one of the two
response keys, whether the cartoon pairs were funny
or not (Figure 2).
At the end of the acquisition session, out of the
scanner, the subjects were asked to rate the same
cartoons on a scale ranging from 0 (not funny) to 6
(very funny). They were asked to base their answers on
how they had judged the cartoons while they were
inside the scanner.
fMRI Data Acquisition
MRI data were obtained on a 3-T Philips Gyroscan Intera
MR Scanner (Philips Medical Systems, Best, The Netherlands),
using the standard setup of body coil transmission
and SENSE head-coil reception.
Blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD)-sensitive fMRI
images were acquired using a gradient echo-planar T2*
sequence (TR = 1 sec, TE = 30 msec, FA = 808, FOV =
220 mm, matrix 80 80, interpolated 128 128, SENSE
factor = 2) from 16 axial slices of 2 mm thickness with
an interslice gap of 1 mm. Therefore, a single event
consisted of 18 volumes, for a total of 234 volumes in
each session and 1170 for each subject. Dummy scans
lasting 10 sec were acquired at the beginning of each
session. Due to technical limitations, we decided to
optimize the temporal resolution to the detriment of
the amount of brain coverage. Therefore, we focalized
our study on regions of most interest to us, namely, the
mesial temporal and part of frontal lobes, renouncing to
other regions possibly involved in the processing of
humor (Moran et al., 2004; Mobbs et al., 2003; Goel &
Dolan, 2001).
We also acquired high-resolution T1-weighted anatomical
3-D images from 170 slices of 1 mm thickness
to allow anatomical localization (TR = 9000 msec; TE =
4 msec; FOV = 220 mm; matrix 256 256; voxel
dimension 1.0 1.0 1.0).
Statistical Analyses
Image analyses were performed using SPM2 software
(Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, London,
UK). All functional volumes for each subject were
realigned to the first volume, slice-time corrected, normalized
to a standard echo-planar image template, and
smoothed with a Gaussian kernel with full width at half
maximum of 6 6 9 mm. For the event-related
analysis, the appearance of the second cartoon was considered
as the starting time of the stimulus of interest.
Using statistical images achieved by single-subject
analyses, we ran random effect group analyses (onesample
t test) contrasting the activation related with
cartoons judged as funny with that of cartoons judged as
not funny by the subjects in the scanner. Moreover,
using responses collected out of the scanner, we ran a
random effect second-level parametric analysis (one-
Figure 2. Single event-related
design.
1792 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 18, Number 11
sample t test) to assess the activation associated to a
subjective increase in the degree of amusement. A
cluster of five or more voxels exceeding statistical
threshold of p < .001 (not corrected) was considered
significant foci of activation. The spatial coordinates in
Talairach and Tournoux (1988) space were obtained applying
the Matthew Brett correction (mni2tal: www.
mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/Imaging/display_slices.html) to the
SPM-MNI coordinates.
RESULTS
Behavioral Results (inside the Scanner)
The subjects were free to give their answers about
considering a cartoon funny or not in their own time.
Considering the five sessions as a whole, on average,
subjects rated as funny 32.5 stimuli (SD = 6.2), and as
not funny 31.9 (SD = 6.3). On average, their response
times were faster for funny (2764 msec, SD = 698 msec)
than for nonfunny stimuli (3065 msec, SD = 1016 msec).
fMRI Results
Stages in Humor Comprehension: Funny versus
Nonfunny Stimuli
The appearance of the first cartoon generates an expectation
that, in case of a neutral stimuli, is confirmed at
the appearance of the second cartoon. On the contrary,
with funny stimuli, the expectation is disconfirmed. Lack
of confirmation generates an incongruity that has to be
resolved reconstructing the story. In cartoon pairs, the
incongruity relies on a process of attributing a different
intention. The resolution of incongruity leads to a
feeling of amusement.
Note that detection and resolution of incongruity
(and the resulting feeling of amusement) intervene
jointly during the presentation of the punch line. Consequently,
in our paradigm, it was impossible to statistically
separate these stages. Because we hypothesize
that attributing intention intervenes in the resolution of
incongruity phase, during presentation of the punch
line, we expected to find, among others, the same areas
that have been found activated in intention attribution
tasks (Brunet et al., 2000). As the comparison of funny
and not funny stimuli should include all of the three
stages of humor, the remaining areas would be associated
to the detection of incongruity, and feeling of
amusement processes.
We run a random effect analysis contrasting the
activation related with cartoons judged as funny with
that of cartoons judged as not funny by the subjects. We
found activations of both right and left brain regions,
suggesting an involvement of both hemispheres in
humor processing (see Table 1 and Figure 3A). Specifically,
we found activation in the right inferior frontal
gyrus (BA 47; peak Talairach coordinates, x, y, z: 51, 30,
17), the left superior temporal gyrus (BA 38; 32, 12,
28), the left middle temporal gyrus (BA 21; 55, 3,
20), and the left cerebellum ( 34, 49, 18). These
areas coincide with those found activated by attribution
of intention tasks by Brunet et al. (2000), therefore confirming
our hypothesis. Remaining areas should then
be related to the other two phases of humor. In fact,
like Goel and Dolan (2000), we found activation in the
bilateral cerebellum, a structure identified as part of
the network involved in laughter (Parvizi, Anderson,
Martin, Damasio, & Damasio, 2001). Like Mobbs et al.
(2003), we also found activation in the bilateral fusiform
gyrus (BA 19/37), a region that, when electrically stimulated,
has been found to induce laughter accompanied
by a feeling of positive emotion (Arroyo et al., 1993).
These areas could be related to the feeling of amusing
that accompanied the resolution of incongruity. Furthermore,
results showed activation of the left inferior
frontal gyrus (BA 47; 51, 15, 8) and the left middle
temporal gyrus (BA 21; 59, 11, 17) in response to
the funny stimuli (Figure 3A). As suggested by the
findings of Moran et al. (2004), the activation of these
areas could be associated with humor detection.
Degree of Amusement: Parametric Analysis
To evaluate the network associated with subjective
amusement, we ran a random effect second-level parametric
analysis using subjects’ ratings as independent
variables. As shown in Figure 3B and Table 2, we found
activations of the same regions we supposed to be
involved in humor detection (left BA 47; 50, 23, 11;
and left BA 21; 59, 10, 15). Also, we found activation
in the right inferior frontal gyrus (BA 47; 51, 26,
14), the left middle temporal gyrus (BA 21; 55, 3,
20), the left superior temporal gyrus (BA 38; 30, 20,
26), and the left cerebellum ( 32, 75, 16). This is
the same circuit we hypothesized to be associated with
attribution of intention from the results achieved in the
previous comparison. Finally, we found activation of the
left amygdala ( 18, 5, 15), which has often been
related to the processing of positive emotions (Lee et al.,
2004; Hamann, Ely, Hoffman, & Kilts, 2002).
DISCUSSION
This study aimed at investigating the neural network
involved in humor and in outlining the different stages
in its comprehension and appreciation.
In the literature, imaging and patient studies have provided
contrasting findings with regard to the side of the
brain involved in humor tasks. Neuroimaging studies
have emphasized the role of the left hemisphere (Moran
et al., 2004; Mobbs et al., 2003; Goel & Dolan, 2001),
and patient studies the role of the right hemisphere
(Shammi & Stuss, 1999; Brownell et al., 1983; Wapner
Bartolo et al. 1793
et al., 1981; Gardner, Ling, Flamm, & Silverman, 1975).
The advantage of neuroimaging studies is that they investigate
the neural networks involved in humor processing
in healthy people. However, studies performed
to date have employed verbal jokes or nonverbal material
with captions (Moran et al., 2004; Mobbs et al., 2003;
Goel & Dolan, 2001). For this reason, they might be
biased toward finding left hemisphere activation. Reports
of several cases of humor comprehension impairment
following right hemisphere lesions (Shammi &
Stuss, 1999; Wapner et al., 1981) suggest that the role
of this hemisphere may not have been adequately investigated
by neuroimaging studies. Patient studies can
allow inferences to be drawn about brain areas that are
necessary for humor processing but have the great disadvantage
of admitting only ‘‘certain’’ subjects to testing
(i.e., those able to comprehend the task or to accomplish
a thorough visual search). Thus, due to partial
overlap and/or contiguity between humor and language
networks, those studies might be biased toward emphasizing
the role of the right hemisphere. The right
hemisphere has been recognized as crucial for high-level
language processing, such as metaphor comprehension
(Bottini et al., 1994) or recognizing the moral of a story
(Nichelli et al., 1995).
The use of nonverbal cartoons allowed us to circumvent
any possible bias created by the use of verbal
material. The results of this study showed involvement
of both the right and the left hemispheres, and thus,
overcame the discrepancy between patient and neuroimaging
studies.
As reported previously, the theory proposed by Suls
(1972) posits that humor comprehension involves two
different processes: detection and resolution of incongruity.
The resolution of incongruity is accompanied by
a feeling of amusement. In our experiment, detection
and resolution of incongruity stages co-occur during the
presentation of the punch line, and these different
stages are impossible to separate in the analysis. In our
cartoon pairs, the intention predicted in the first cartoons
was disconfirmed at the presentation of the
second cartoon. The only way to understand the overall
meaning of the cartoons’ pairs was therefore to reconsider
the character’s previous intention. For this reason,
Table 1. Brain Areas in which Stimuli-related BOLD Signal was Significant for Funny versus Nonfunny Cartoons
Coordinates
Regions and Brodmann’s Areas No. of Voxels Z Score x y z
Left hemisphere
Cerebellum, Fusiform Gyrus (BA 37) 190 4.61 34 49 18
Superior Temporal Gyrus (BA 38) 56 4.59 32 12 28
Fusiform Gyrus, Inferior Occipital Gyrus (BA 19/18) 124 4.46 32 76 14
Middle Temporal Gyrus (BA 21) 21 4.31 59 11 17
Middle Temporal Gyrus (BA 21) 34 4.18 55 3 20
Superior Temporal Gyrus, Inferior Frontal Gyrus (BA 38/47) 85 3.97 51 15 8
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 20) 8 3.73 40 42 23
Cerebellum, Fusiform Gyrus (BA 19) 9 3.63 48 69 17
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 37) 9 3.56 48 42 18
Right hemisphere
Cerebellum, Fusiform Gyrus (BA 19) 418 4.49 6 81 24
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 36/37/20) 159 4.33 28 45 15
Superior Temporal Gyrus (BA 38) 24 3.94 34 22 29
Inferior Frontal Gyrus (BA 47) 19 3.85 51 30 17
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 19/37) 16 3.72 30 59 15
Cerebellum, Fusiform Gyrus (BA 19) 29 3.50 48 67 22
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 19) 23 3.49 51 65 14
p = .001, uncorrected.
k > 5 voxels.
1794 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 18, Number 11
we hypothesized that some of the regions we should
have found when comparing activation for funny and
nonfunny cartoons should have been the same involved
in incongruity resolution (attribution of intention). The
remaining areas could have been related to incongruity
detection and to feeling of amusement.
Comparing brain activations in response to funny
versus nonfunny cartoons, we found activation of the
right inferior frontal gyrus (BA 47), the left superior
temporal gyrus (BA 38), the left middle temporal gyrus
(BA 21), and the left cerebellum, a network of regions
considered to be involved in attribution of intention.
This finding suggests that attributing intentions could be
an important step in the comprehension of humor of
cartoon pairs. We hypothesize that it could be involved
in the resolution of incongruity, as the types of cartoons
would suggest. Indeed, in cartoon strips, the story could
be fully understood when it is revisited under a process
of attribution of intention. This result is also in line with
studies in which right frontal brain-damaged patients
had difficulty in establishing the coherence in a funny
story, but not in detecting the incongruent element of
the story (Bihrle et al., 1986; Brownell et al., 1983;
Wapner et al., 1981). Indeed, right frontal patients can
detect incongruity because the spared left hemisphere
(frontal and temporal regions) subserves this ability,
whereas they might fail to comprehend the meaning
of jokes because their lesion encompasses part of the
network used for solving the incongruity (Wapner et al.,
1981).
We maintain that the remaining areas should be
related to the others two phases of humor processing.
In line with the findings of a neuroimaging study by
Moran et al. (2004), we found activations in the left
inferior frontal gyrus and in the left middle temporal
gyrus. This result was also in line with the findings of a
study by Bihrle et al. (1986). Using a series of funny and
nonfunny captionless cartoon strips, these authors
found that LBD patients are less sensitive to incongruity
than RBD patients. Indeed, the patients with left hemisphere
lesions were impaired in detecting the incongruity
in a story. Together, our results, as well as these
patient and neuroimaging findings, demonstrate the role
of the left hemisphere, especially the frontal and temporal
pole, in the detection of incongruity.
We were also interested in the feeling of amusing that
accompanied humor, and accordingly analyzed brain
activation in relation to the degree of amusement generated
by items considered more or less amusing. We
found activation of the same circuit involved in the
attribution of intention (right inferior frontal gyrus, left
superior temporal gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, and
left cerebellum). Suls (1972) argued that the central
feature of humor is the resolution of incongruity, without
which the humorous story, not understood, remains
nothing more than an incongruous story: ‘‘There is
humor when the parts of a joke make sense’’ (Suls,
1972, p. 83). Our results showed that, at least in our
cartoon pairs, which require an episodic operator to
resolve the incongruity, the degree of amusement generated
is a function of the effort expended in attributing
intentions to the cartoon’s characters. As reported in
Suls (1972), if a joke is very difficult to understand, it
Figure 3. (A) Brain areas activated in response to funny versus
nonfunny cartoons. Activated blobs are overlaid on a structural
image obtained as the average of all the subjects’ T1 volumes.
(B) Brain areas activated during humor appreciation (parametric).
Activated blobs are overlaid on a structural image obtained as
the average of all the subjects’ T1 volumes.
Bartolo et al. 1795
would be considered not funny. The same happens to
the cartoons for which the incongruity resolution is too
easy, because it is too banal. The fact that parametric
analysis demonstrated that areas of activation related to
subjective amusement were the same involved in attributing
intention—resolution of incongruity—is in line
with the fact that the effort to resolve incongruity might
have a role in rating funny a cartoon.
We also found that the degree of amusement is
associated with activation of the left amygdala and the
bilateral cerebellum. In humans, the amygdala (particularly
the right-sided amygdala) is involved in negative
emotions, such as fear (Benuzzi et al., 2004; Meletti et al.,
2003; Nader, Schafe, & Le Doux, 2000). On the contrary,
according to some studies, the left amygdala might be
involved in positive emotions (Lee et al., 2004; Hamann
et al., 2002).
In their ‘‘Seinfeld and Simpson’’ fMRI study, Moran
et al. (2004) attributed humor appreciation to bilateral
activation of the amygdala. Comparing funny and nonfunny
cartoons, Mobbs et al. (2003) also described
activation of a subcortical network, commonly related
to reward mechanisms. This circuit included the left
amygdala, the ventral striatum/nucleus accumbens, and
the hypothalamus. Goel and Dolan (2000), using verbal
jokes, found activation in the ventromedial prefrontal
cortex (BA 10/11), which is also part of the same
dopaminergic reward system. However, they did not
report activation of the subcortical network. Recently,
Azim, Mobbs, Jo, Menon, and Reiss (2005), comparing
activation during funny and nonfunny stimuli in men
and women, found that women more than men showed
greater activation of mesolimbic regions, including the
nucleus accumbens.
Finally, we found that the degree of amusement was
also related to bilateral activation of the cerebellum. The
role of the cerebellum in humor needs to be further
explored. On the basis of a single case report of a patient
with pathological laughter, Parvizi et al. (2001) hypothesized
that the cerebellum plays a modulating and
Table 2. Brain Areas in which Stimuli-related BOLD Signal was Significant for Humor Appreciation (Parametric)
Coordinates
Region (Parametric) No. of Voxels Z Score x y z
Left hemisphere
Cerebellum, Fusiform Gyrus (BA 19) 158 4.68 32 75 16
Superior Temporal Gyrus, Inferior Frontal Gyrus (BA 38/47) 102 4.56 50 23 11
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 37) 194 4.53 53 57 12
Superior Temporal Gyrus (BA 38) 73 4.24 30 20 26
Middle Temporal Gyrus (BA 21) 20 4.12 59 10 15
Occipital Gyrus (BA 19) 15 4.08 48 69 17
Amygdala 14 3.78 18 5 15
Middle Temporal Gyrus (BA 21) 9 3.66 55 22 9
Middle Temporal Gyrus (BA 21) 6 3.59 55 3 20
Cerebellum 13 3.45 40 42 21
Middle Temporal Gyrus (BA 21) 5 3.44 51 7 23
Right hemisphere
Cerebellum, Fusiform Gyrus (BA 18) 397 4.65 6 81 24
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 37/20) 86 4.44 30 45 13
Middle Temporal Gyrus (BA 21) 7 3.85 55 18 14
Fusiform Gyrus (BA 37) 23 3.79 28 59 15
Superior Temporal Gyrus (BA 38) 5 3.72 46 16 36
Inferior Frontal Gyrus (BA 47) 16 3.51 51 26 14
Parahippocampal Gyrus (BA 30) 8 3.48 16 33 6
p = .001, uncorrected.
k > 5 voxels.
1796 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 18, Number 11
coordinating role in the production of laughter. The
cerebellum receives inputs from the limbic cortex, including
the amygdala. According to Parvizi et al., it might
modulate emotional responses (e.g., laughter and crying)
according to the specific contexts in which triggering
stimuli appear.
In conclusion, in this study, we have explored humor
using nonverbal cartoon pairs. Even allowing for
the experimental context, these stimuli share features
with many everyday situations commonly considered
to be funny. Hence, the humor of many day-to-day
situations might be related to the resolving of incongruity
created by unfulfilled expectations. We have
provided some evidence that this may depend on a
specific ToM skill (i.e., the attributing of intention to
others). In particular, the inferior frontal and middle
temporal gyri of the left hemisphere are crucial for
humor detection (i.e., getting the incongruity). Humor
comprehension (i.e., resolving incongruity) is related to
a more widespread network including regions of both
hemispheres (right inferior frontal gyrus, left superior
temporal gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, and left
cerebellum). Finally, the left amygdala and the cerebellum
seem to be involved in modulating the affective
component of humor.
Overall, this study has the merit of proposing a
possible role of the attribution of intention in resolving
incongruity. However, our findings are limited, in that
we do not compare two types of episodic cartoons,
funny ToM cartoons and funny non-ToM; therefore,
we think that the present results may be further extended
in future studies comparing these two types
of cartoons. In particular, according to our findings,
we expect that they would differ only with respect
to the resolution of incongruity process. Indeed, they
both are funny cartoons for which detection of incongruity
and feeling of amusement would be present.
However, in funny ToM cartoons, we would
expect to find areas related to attribution of intention,
whereas funny non-ToM cartoons would recruit different
regions.
Another intriguing aspect of humor is denigration. In
some cartoons and jokes, one or more characters act at
the expense of one or more other characters in the
story. It follows that to find a cartoon funny, the
perceiver must not empathize with the subject or subjects
who are on the receiving end of the actions.
Further study should focus on the relationship between
the feelings aroused by the characters who are placed at
a disadvantage and the ensuing sense of amusement.
This would give humor its social connotations.
Reprint requests should be sent to Paolo Nichelli, Dipartimento
di Neuroscienze, Universita` di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Nuovo
Ospedale Sant’Agostino-Estense, Via Giardini, 1355—Baggiovara,
41010 Modena, Italy, or via e-mail: nichelli@unimo.it.
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1798 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 18, Number 11
 

10 comentarios:

  1. Anónimo8:48 a.m.


    Estimado ex – profesor, ex – profeso le contesto

    Ante todo agradezco el salto a la popularidad que Ud. me empellonó entre sus vastos bastardos remitidos, otorgándome los 15 minutos prometidos por Warhol. Considero que lo de dramaturgo me queda holgado, como que le sobrara un “turgo”.

    Sobre nuestras ideas de cómo llevarse con la ex, ese botoneo sobre mi forma de pensar, puede perjudicar mi plan “que parezca un accidente”. Y también me limita a concurrir a alguna de sus clases para conocer a sus alumnitas, porque me evitarán presuponiendo que las odiaré cuando finiquitemos difundiendo los videos que habremos de filmar en nuestro lapsus romántico erótico.

    Respecto a ser amado por las pestañas o por correr maratones, no sé si el comentario ha sido aleatorio o si sabía Ud. que efectivamente yo corro maratones (de las de endeveras de 42km, no como las mal llamada maratones de 10km que equivalen a un paseo de Shopping). Filipides desfallecería de nuevo al ver semejante usurpación de su hazaña, donde no solo se jactan de equipararlo los que caminan 8 cuadras como quienes se ven un sábado a la tarde 15 capítulos de los Simpsons, promocionada con el nombre de aquella ciudad griega, de cuyo nombre no quiero redundar.

    Y en tales correveidiles y correrías de patoruzito conocí a mi actual colega y futura “ex”, aunque no recuerdo quien corría a quien o de quien. Y como mi queridita es además una especialista en Catering (cual Fulop), de eventos Bat-Bar-Bris-Sholshim, nuestra actividades se resumen en un verbo: coXer con X variable, para cansarse y saciar las necesidades fisiollogicas básicas.

    El monologo de Begigni sobre los pecados capitales, lo leí hace mucho, y me pareció muy bueno y merece que lo busque para releerlo. Recuerdo mis dichos en vuestra 1ra clase a la que asisti. “La Vida es Bella” demuestra que no hay tematicas que no se puedan humorear como se rhumorea.

    Aparte de actual maratonista, he ejercitado muchos años, y con modesta destreza, el pasivo deporte opuesto del Ajedrez y con desilusión me entero en su crónica de curso, que soy involuntario colega del pugilista de Mauro Viale, caricaturizado en propagandas en los diarios en estos días. Es como descubrir a Winograd leyendo el mismo libro que yo o a Julio Ricardo compartir mis opiniones futbolisticas.

    Me ha dado trebejo comprender por qué escaque en lugar de “es jaque”.

    Veo que la nueva sede es cercana a la casa de Bibiana Galli, nuestra amable anfitriona y “gran alma mater” de nuestros encuentros o “alma grand mother”

    Reitero mi voluntad de resistir en persistir en perpetuar una nueva concurrida a sus cursillos, pero seguiré las cronicas con su nueva purretada, comodamente sentado en mi casa o trabajo, sin temor a bostezar ante su vista

    Saludos y buen curso

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  2. Anónimo4:45 p.m.


    ¡Por una letra se diluyó el chistonto!
    perpetRar, no perpetUar

    Un maravilloso verbo borgidolineano, efectivo para incluir en cualquier frase



    Reitero mi voluntad de resistir en persistir en perpetuar una nueva concurrida a sus cursillos, pero seguiré las cronicas con su nueva purretada, comodamente sentado en mi casa o trabajo, sin temor a bostezar ante su vista

    ResponderEliminar
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la peor opinión es el silencio, salvo...