Saturday, October 1, 2022

Why do we laugh?: An investigation tries to explain the epidemic of laughter, the funniest joke in history, and the extent of black humor

Madrid. – On Tuesday, January 30, 1962, three students laughed at a women’s religious boarding school in Kashasha (Tanzania). her laugh was so contagious That the comrades with whom he was crossing also started laughing. Laughter spread from class to class, Until infecting half the people in the school. About a hundred people could not stop laughing. Weeks passed and people were still laughing. School had to be closed. Girls who returned to their homes in other cities infect their neighbors. laughter epidemic Nashamba, a city of 10,000 residents, arrived, where hundreds of people laughed. In all, 14 schools had to be closed and 1,000 people faced uncontrollable laughter. The epidemic disappeared 18 months after its onset and was described in a 1963 scientific study published in the journal Special Central African Journal of Medicine,

This case is recalled by neuroscientist Scott Weems in his book Ha. The science of when we laugh and why, published by the publishing house Taurus. ,And It is about an idea. The idea is that humor and its most common symptom—laughter—are a by-product of having a conflict-based brain, “Weims writes. The human brain, he explains, continuously anticipates events and generates hypotheses.” However, sometimes it leads to conflict, for example when we try to hold two or more conflicting ideas at the same time. When this happens, our brain can only think of one thing: laugh.”

supported by the bibliography of 135 Scientific Studieswems description Humor as “our natural response to conflict and confusion”, Neuroscientist trained at the University of California at Los Angeles, recalls that just a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks, comedian Gilbert Gottfried performed at the Friars Club in New York. The smell of burning was still coming in the city. Colleagues who came before him on stage did not raise the topic of terrorist attacks. He joked about the magazine’s founding guest of honor’s penis size lazyHugh Hefner. But Gottfried was furious when the public celebrated one of his jokes about Muslims. Leaning into the microphone, he announced:

“I have to go early tonight.” I want to fly to Los Angeles. I didn’t get a direct flight and had to stop at the Empire State Building.

Everyone gasped. Silence was followed by “It’s yet to be joked about!” Slogans and slogans were raised. Gottfried, a comedian with two decades of stage experience, faced outrage from the audience, but he was fearless. Looking at the attendees, a new joke began:

-Very good. A talent scout is sitting in his office. Enters a family: a man, a woman, two children and a puppy. So the talent scout asks, “What kind of show are they doing?”

According to Wems, the succession of eschatology without taboos, bestiality, incest and corrupt sex, was “the dirtiest joke in the world”. The audience burst out laughing. “The performance was so memorable that someone made a film about the joke, based on Gottfried’s performance, titled aristocrat”, he recalls.

When can you joke about a tragedy? Where are the limits of humor? Wems recalls that after the spacecraft exploded in 1986 claimant With seven members of the crew, a joke became very popular: “What does NASA mean? We need seven astronauts now.” One study showed that jokes about the tragedy came out about 17 days after the crash. The latency period of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks was short. The duration was too long. Study author Bill Ellis of Pennsylvania State University told the jokes claimant According to the date and place of attendance. The accident happened on 28 January 1986. This joke was told in the town of Shippensburg on February 22: Do you know what the official drink of NASA is? Seven up (seven up, in English).

“Our fascination with black humor is demonstrated by a variety of jokes in bad taste: those that have to do with claimantAIDS and Chernobyl, to name just a few,” Wems says. Armed with publications in specialized journals, neuroscientists say that Black humor is not cruel. “Inventing alternatives that explain the abbreviation AIDS is fun for some people, but shouting ha ha, you’re sick! It’s not weird to anyone in the cancer ward. We laugh at jokes about groups or events only when they provoke complex emotional reactions, because without those reactions we have no other way of responding.”, he reflects.

,There is not a single joke that everyone likes, Humor is strange because it depends on what makes us all unique: how we deal with the discrepancy that reigns in our complex brain”, he emphasized. The best evidence is an experiment by psychologist Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. In 2001, he opened a website with the help of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which aimed to find the funniest jokes in the world. It got around 40,000 jokes and 1.5 lakh votes. The winner was:

Two hunters from New Jersey are walking through the woods when one of them collapses. He gives the impression that he is not breathing and his eyes are glass. The other picks up the phone and calls the emergency service. He gasps, “I think my friend is dead! What should I do?”. The operator replies: “Calm down. I’ll help you. First, make sure he’s dead.” There’s a silence and then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the hunter says, “Okay, now what?”

The funniest joke in the world ain’t so funnyWiseman and Weims agree, and it has a scientific explanation. “Since not everyone likes provocative jokes in the same way, the most popular ones are grouped closer to the most common provocative range, although still below. Won’t laugh at all. If it’s too short, everyone will be cold,” Weams says.

Wiseman’s experiment served to draw some conclusions about jokes. The funniest had an average of 103 characters, The funniest animal was the duck. The most hilarious time of day is 18:03. And the funniest day of the month is 15th. As far as nationalities were concerned, Americans “showed a clear affinity for jokes that included insults or vague threats.” This joke in English about a Texan and Harvard graduate was highly appreciated in America and outside its borders:

Texan: Where are you from? ,Where are you from?,

-Harvard graduate: From a place where we don’t end sentences with prepositions.

Texan: Well, where are you from, asshole? ,Well where are you from, Jackass?,

Europeans, on the other hand, showed an inclination towards such absurd or surreal jokes as:

A patient says: “Doctor, I had a Freudian slip yesterday. I was having dinner with my mother-in-law and I wanted to say, “Can you give me butter?” But instead I said, “Stupid cow, You have completely destroyed my life.”

This second joke was liked by more than half the men, but only 15% of the women:

A police officer stops a man on the highway. The agent asks: “Did you know that your wife and son fell from the car a kilometer ago?” The man smiles and says: “Thank God! I thought I was going deaf!”

,Humor—especially offensive humor—is silly, “Everyone has their own threshold of what they find aggressive and when that threshold is exceeded they react very differently,” Weems says. on the pages of AndNeuroscientist recalls Dr Sigmund Freud’s theory that Humor is our way of resolving internal conflict and anxiety. Although few scientists today take Freud seriously, almost everyone believes that there is at least some truth in his theory. Jokes that make us even a little uncomfortable are not successful. It’s the struggle of wanting to laugh, and at the same time not being sure we should, that makes the jokes satisfying,” Weems says.

Regarding the laughter epidemic in Tanzania, the author believes that “it would be easy to claim that the girls simply experienced a nervous breakdown”. One interpretation holds that they suffered from massive hysteria due to the stress of great social change. In December 1961, the country became independent from the United Kingdom and the school abandoned racial segregation. In addition, the students were teenagers, in the throes of puberty, and the pressures were tremendous, according to Weems.

“By asking them to live in two worlds at once – neither British nor African, neither white nor black, neither adult nor child, but a combination of both – they were unsuccessful. But the laugh was not a nervous breakdown. Is. […] It is a fighting mechanism, a way of dealing with conflict. Sometimes that conflict is presented as a joke. Sometimes it’s more complicated.”

Manuel Ensade

©EL PAÍS, SL

Nation World News Desk
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