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Comprehension of Humor

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

In recent years, cognitive neuroscientists have taken an increasing interest in the brain mechanisms that underlie our understanding and appreciation of humor. Broadly speaking, the challenge for cognitive neuroscience is to find out what part of the human brain is involved in a given cognitive process (e.g., reading, remembering, calculating), regardless of individual differences. To do so, neuroscientists sometimes investigate normal brain function during the execution of a specific cognitive task; in other cases, they look at brain malfunctions or neuropathology: By giving a cognitive task to stroke patients with damage to a specific part of the brain, for instance, they can find out about how the lesion affects the patients' performance.

Processing humor requires the coupling of a cognitive function, the understanding of humor, with ...

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