[extropy-chat] Monty Python's International Philosophy FootballMatch

Alex Ramonsky alex at ramonsky.com
Wed Sep 27 09:55:20 UTC 2006

If you get yourself an MRI scanner or even an EEG for Xmas, you can see 
why  :  ). Different bits of your brain light up when appreciating 
different kinds of humor. Geeks notoriously use frontal lobes a lot, and 
due to plasticity almost certainly have denser networks in the areas 
that appreciate puns, verbal humor, and what neuro geeks call 'N400 
jokes' [precisely because they cause a graph readout called an N400 on 
an EEG machine]. Monty Python specializes in N400 jokes where part of a 
sentence is semantically out of context -they make people think "Eh?" 
for just a second or so before falling about laughing. Phrases like 
"Raspberry jelly-coated fighter jets" or "I was ironing the 
hippopotamus" are examples of N400s.
    Sentences where the difficulty is syntactic provoke two kinds of EEG 
deviation over the left frontal lobe [Brocas area] but where there's a 
semantic difficulty we just get one. It's the right frontal lobe though 
that helps us 'get' the emotional content of jokes. And we need a bit of 
posterior activity when confronted with stuff like "Man eating fish in 
restaurant" that is ambiguous in meaning.
'Non-geeks' -persons with denser networks in other parts of the brain- 
appreciate alternative humor accordingly , notoriously about farting , 
sex, food, and other sensory-motor activities. But they find it much 
harder to get jokes like "A dyslexic man walked into a bra".

spike wrote:

>I am always puzzled by British humor, why it is exactly that it has such
>universal appeal to us geeksters.  Why does it stay so funny to us after all
>this time, but non-geeksters fail to see the humor?

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