11/08/2005: And it appears there is no question that is beyond the ken of Science...
CNN reports on neuroscientific study of humor that may answer the age old question: "Why do men like the Three Stooges more than women do?"
Women seem more likely than men to enjoy a good joke, mainly because they don't always expect it to be funny.Well, it's time to start writing the members of the Nobel Assembly, the members of the medical class of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the surviving Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine (and any of the rest of the folks on this list that you can think of), and start lobbying. If this research isn't worthy of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, then nothing is.
"The long trip to Mars or Venus is hardly necessary to see that men and women often perceive the world differently," a research team led by Dr. Allan L. Reiss of the Stanford University School of Medicine reports in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
But they were surprised when their studies of how the male and female brains react to humor showed that women were more analytical in their response, and felt more pleasure when they decided something really was funny.
"Women appeared to have less expectation of a reward, which in this case was the punch line of the cartoon," said Reiss. "So when they got to the joke's punch line, they were more pleased about it."
Men are using the same network in the brain, but less so, he said, men are less discriminating.
"It doesn't take a lot of analytical machinery to think someone getting poked in the eye is funny," he commented when asked about humor like the Three Stooges.
While there is a lot of overlap between how men and women process humor, the differences can help account for the fact that men gravitate more to one-liners and slapstick while women tend to use humor more in narrative form and stories, Reiss said.
Len on 11.08.05 @ 07:18 AM CST