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Cognitive Aspects

  • By: Giovannantonio Forabosco
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

How is the mind involved in the humor experience? This is the leading question when the attention of the researcher is focused on the cognitive aspects. From the Latin word cognitio (knowledge), and also related to the verb cogito (to think), cognition is the term that indicates the work of the mind itself.

Since ancient times, philosophers and scholars have proposed observations on this matter. The Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that laughter for the comic is generated by a particular form of surprise and deception. Surprise typically is a brief emotional state in reaction to the unexpected. Deception implies the feeling of being fooled or misled. Both are connected to a “mental” evaluation of an event that proved to be inaccurate or incorrect. That in humor ...

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