Saturday, October 07, 2006

Everyone's Brain Needs to Laugh

Check out Reluctant Nomad's "Insults--they just don't make them as they used to."

Smile, snicker, chuckle. Just let go and laugh out loud. You'll feel great.

Then ponder these findings about humor and our brains. According to Allan Reiss, MD of Stanford University in a 2005 study, men and women's brains react differently to humor. Researchers already know that men and women share much when laugh. For example, both use the part of the brain responsible for language processing and semantic knowledge and juxtaposition. But women seem to use the language and reasoning areas more and expect a punchline less, which activates the reward center. So when we do find something that's amusing, we are really pleased.

And then there "Humor's Sexual Side." John Morreal of William and Mary College, says that the content of men and women's humor is quite different. Men tend to find practical jokes and put-downs hilarious while women tend to use humor to bond with others. Geoffrey Miller of the University of Mexico finds that women prefer funny men and how much they laugh may be tied to sexual attraction whereas the number of times men laughed at women's jokes had no correlation with that kind of interest in the woman. And, of course, women who use "men's" humor are seen as too aggressive.

Oh, my goodness, what a tangle. And it just keeps going.

Everyone seems to agree that humor is a sign of cognitive health. We already know that because we instantly feel more positive when we laugh. In case you've forgotten, circle back to the top and take a look at those funny insults. And for the women in the audience, the ones that take quick language processing and reasoning are the most fun.

, , ,

No comments: