Fun_People Archive
11 Sep
Locating the Funny Bone.

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 100 13:09:30 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Locating the Funny Bone.

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Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <>
Forwarded-by: "rob pike" <>
From: "Buzzwords", by May Berenbaum, p. 252.

Shammi and Stuss (1999) conducted a study of 21 patients with local damage
in specific areas of their brain, using a series of humor appreciation
tests and joke and story completion tests.  For example, the patients were
asked to read the setup of a joke and then select among a choice of
punchlines.  The investigation found that damage to the right frontal lobe
had the most profound effect on the ability to appreciate humor.  Although
appreciation of slapstick was undiminished, the ability to pick out the
right clever line was muted.  Thus, in one joke, a man asks his neighbor
if he'll be mowing the lawn on Saturday; the neighbor answers "yes," and
what was generally regarded as the clever punch line was for the first man
to respond, "Well, I guess you won't be needing your golf clubs."  Patients
who had sustained damage to the right frontal lobe preferred the outcome
in which, after the neighbor responds, "yes," the first man steps on a

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