The First Joke: Exploring the Evolutionary Origins of Humor The work in article throws light on possible adaptive features of humor in academic sense and analyses its evolution over a historical perspective…
Humor and laughter are closely related however these are not synonymous. One can laugh without a humorous stimulus and similarly one can experience humor without laughter. Historically humor history is perceived to be 35000 years old. Almost every culture spends appreciable time communicating in a humorous context. No single humor theory is universally accepted however, three essential themes, are repeatedly observed in the majority of humor theories: 1) humor reflects a set of incongruous conceptualizations, 2) humor involves repressed sexual or aggressive feelings, and 3) humor elevates social status by demonstrating superiority or saving face. It has been discussed that animals also show response to humorous behavior. With respect to genetics, it has been observed that women laugh 126% more than men during conversations with each other. Brain damage, particularly in the frontal lobes, causes deficits of humor appreciation. The elucidation of the neurobiology of humor has benefited from two approaches: 1) observing the effects of various brain lesions on humor perception and 2) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, which monitor brain activity in normal subjects while perceiving humor. Despite language and cultural barriers, humor in traditional societies is generally comprehensible to visiting anthropologists. Two humor phenomena especially standout in the anthropological literature: joking relationships and clowns. There is no way to know with certainty when humor evolved relative to language although it would appear that at least sophisticated humor must have succeeded language. The credible range for the origins of language lands between a few hundred thousand years to about 2-4 million years ago. There is increasing evidence that a new level of symbolic thought was achieved around 50,000 years ago. A figurine integrating the head of a lion with the legs of a person dated around 32,000 years old is among the earliest evidence for symbolic art. Humor can perhaps be framed as an incongruent social concept “violating” the essence of a congruent social concept. Dunbar (1993) has put forward a theory that, in primates, neocortical size is proportional to group size and that language ultimately replaced grooming as the primary social bond .Humor is a fascinating cognitive function. The relative ease in how we use it belies its considerable complexity. To conclude humor appears to be a function of Homo sapiens’ augmented social abilities and as an extension of language, could perhaps be the most complex cognitive function in the animal kingdom. The origins of language, spirituality, hominid group size and animal teasing may have particular relevance to humor. A number of humankind’s higher cognitive functions could well be inextricably rooted in humor’s evolutionary history, thus making this subject worthy of further exploration. Works Cited Polimeni & P.Riess , “The First Joke: Exploring the Evolutionary Origins of Humor”, Evolutionary Psychology human-nature.com/ep – 2006. 4: P347-366,JPReiss@cc.umanitoba.ca Web 23 Mar 2011, http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/ep04347366.pdf [Professor’s Name] [Writer’s Name] [Course Title] [Date] Laughter; A scientific investigation Laughter is part of universal human vocabulary, produced and recognized by all people of all cultures. Laughter is instinctive behavior programmed by our genes, not by vocal community in which we grow up. Laughter can ...
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