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Comedy, Seriously: Science

A library guide to accompany the 2012-13 Humanities at Colby Theme

Scientific cartoonists

"As human neurobiological phenomena, laughter and humour also belong to the field of clinical neurology; their processing is affected in a number of different diseases and, in certain cases, effective treatment can be established."

Arias, M. 2011. Neurology of laughter and humour: pathological laughing and crying. Revista de Neurologi 53(7): 415-421

Scientific basis of humor

"Humor ...evolved out of a computational problem that arose when our long-ago ancestors were furnished with open-ended thinking. Mother Nature--aka natural selection--cannot just order the brain to find and fix all our time-pressured mis-leaps and near-misses. She has to bribe the brain with pleasure. So we find them funny."

Book description for Hurley, Dennett & Adams, Inside Jokes, 2011.

Berdik, Chris. 2011. Why our brains make us laugh. Boston Globe, 20 November. Accessed online 2 August 2012.

Fry, WF. 2002. Humor and the brain: a selective review. Humor: International J. Humor Research 15(3):305-333.

Gervais, M & DS Wilson. 2005. The evolution and functions of laughter and humor: a synthetic approach. Q. Rev. Biol. 80(4):395-430.

Howe, NE. 2002. The Origin of humor. Medical Hypotheses 59(3): 252-254.

Hurley MM, DC Dennett, & RB Adams. 2011. Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kotthoff, H. 2006. Gender and humor: the state of the art. J. Pragmatics 38(1):4-25.

Lourey, E & A McLachlan. 2003. Elements of sensation seeking and their relationship with two aspects of humour appreciation - perceived funniness and overt expression. Personality and Individual Differences 35(2):277-287.

Norrick, NR. 2009. Issues in conversation joking. J. Pragmatics 35:(9)1333-1359.

Park JS, DH Kim & MS Chung. 2011. Anatomy comic strips. Anatomical sciences education 4(5):275-279.

Roth WM, SM Ritchie, P Hudson, & V Mergard. 2011. A study of laughter in science lessons. J. Research in Science Teaching 46(5):437-458.

Vaid J, R Hull, R Heredia, D Gerkens, & F Martinez. 2003. Getting a joke: the time course of meaning activation in verbal humor. J. Pragmatics 35:(9)1431-1449.

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