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Pattern Recognition

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

Pattern recognition in psychology is the identification of a pattern in a stimulus. In humor studies, it is the name of an evolutionary theory arguing that humor is an advanced form of a data-processing faculty whose influence has played a vital role in the expansion of the human race’s cognitive abilities. First proposed by British author Alastair Clarke in 2008, it suggests that the enjoyment of being amused encourages an individual to identify certain relationships between novel bits of information. This entry provides a brief overview of the theory’s ideas and its implications.

Basic Principles

Disagreeing with alternative ideas proposing that the perception of incongruity constitutes the foundation for humor, pattern recognition theory contends that the recognition of patterns has enabled the human race to develop an ...

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