[extropy-chat] Monty Python's International Philosophy FootballMatch
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".
>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?
More information about the extropy-chat