Anatomy of the sense of humour


Says the duo Faemino and tired in the brochure as at home, no talking! That he would like people to laugh at least twenty-three times, and that when they left the theater they were better people and found the meaning of life. The first wish has been fulfilled. Many begin to desternillarse as soon as the humorists step on the stage. Others, on the other hand, the show doesn’t do them any funny. Or even have a hard time, as it happens to a woman who does not stop looking at the phone at every moment, waiting for it to end once the torture. Why is something fun for some not for others?

“I think humor is a way of looking at life and a mechanism of defense. And it is not clear what it is, “says Javier tired. And he adds, “I always say that my children are funny people, but not humorists. I can teach you to taste a wine, but I can’t teach you a sense of humour. ”

Laughter is a behavior that has been widely analyzed by the scientific community for decades. Humor, on the other hand, reveals much more about how we think, feel and relate to others. It is a state of mind, and therefore, difficult to measure.

Thanks to modern neuroimaging techniques, we know that humor originates in an area called Central error detection. It is located almost in the center of the brain, just above the corpus callosum that connects the left and right hemispheres. From this position, you can monitor the rest of regions, each of which is specialized in an activity, such as vision or language.

When they tell us a joke, the sound waves of words travel in the form of electrical impulses to the brain: “How does an elephant hide in a cherry tree?” The left hemisphere begins to sort the information while trying to correct the logical end of the story. On the other hand, it activates a small area in the right hemisphere that allows us to imagine the narrative from an absurd perspective. We also need the areas involved in short-term language processing and memory.

Then comes the resolution of the joke: “The nails are painted red.” That inconsistency, that unexpected end breaks with our expectations. The error Center is responsible for synchronizing the logical and illogical narrative, says Natalia López Moratalla, professor of biochemistry and Molecular biology at the University of Navarra.

But one thing is that a chanza surprise us and a very different one that we find amusing. By detecting the error, the brain gains a reward through the release of dopamine, known as the hormone of happiness. That’s when laughter starts. “The sense of humour requires an agile and flexible mind, since the processes of understanding the joke, finding it amusing and laughing are synchronized very quickly,” says the expert.