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The use of bright and dark types of humour is rooted in the brain


Papousek, Ilona; Ruch, Willibald; Rominger, Christian; Kindermann, Elisabeth; Scheidl, Katharina; Schulter, Günter; Fink, Andreas; Weiss, Elisabeth M (2017). The use of bright and dark types of humour is rooted in the brain. Scientific Reports, 7:42967.

Abstract

The ways in which humour can be used are related to the manifold interpersonal functions humour can serve, some of which are positive, and some negative. In the present study, phasic changes in the functional coupling of prefrontal and posterior cortex (EEG coherence) during other people's auditory displays of happy and sad mood were recorded to predict people's typical use of humour in social interactions. Greater use of benevolent humour, the intentions of which are in keeping with the characteristics of "laughing-with" humour, was associated with greater decreases of prefrontal-posterior coupling during the processing of happy laughter. More loose prefrontal-posterior coupling indicates loosening of control of the prefrontal cortex over the incoming perceptual information, thereby opening up the perceptual gate and allowing the brain to become more affected by the social-emotional signals. Greater use of humour styles linked to malicious intentions of "laughing-at" humour was associated with responses indicating a wider opened perceptual gate during the processing of other people's crying. The findings are consistent with the idea that typical humour styles develop in line with the rewarding values of their outcomes (e.g., interaction partners are happy or hurt), which in turn are defined through the individuals' latent interpersonal goals.

Abstract

The ways in which humour can be used are related to the manifold interpersonal functions humour can serve, some of which are positive, and some negative. In the present study, phasic changes in the functional coupling of prefrontal and posterior cortex (EEG coherence) during other people's auditory displays of happy and sad mood were recorded to predict people's typical use of humour in social interactions. Greater use of benevolent humour, the intentions of which are in keeping with the characteristics of "laughing-with" humour, was associated with greater decreases of prefrontal-posterior coupling during the processing of happy laughter. More loose prefrontal-posterior coupling indicates loosening of control of the prefrontal cortex over the incoming perceptual information, thereby opening up the perceptual gate and allowing the brain to become more affected by the social-emotional signals. Greater use of humour styles linked to malicious intentions of "laughing-at" humour was associated with responses indicating a wider opened perceptual gate during the processing of other people's crying. The findings are consistent with the idea that typical humour styles develop in line with the rewarding values of their outcomes (e.g., interaction partners are happy or hurt), which in turn are defined through the individuals' latent interpersonal goals.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:17 February 2017
Deposited On:13 Mar 2017 10:24
Last Modified:06 Aug 2017 17:59
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/srep42967
PubMed ID:28211496

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