We live in a chaotic world where the power of smiling has been forgotten amidst the cities' traffic, job's pressures, conflictive relationships, and many other issues stressing people at the point that it has become a major health problem in modern society.
However, medical research has found that humor is helpful therapy that not only reduces our chances to be at risk for these problems, but also can eradicate them . When there is no humor to cope with stressful situations, people tend to abuse alcohol and drugs, to escape from stress.
Funny things are funny by their nature - that's how most of us think about jokes, cartoons and other stuff that provoke laugh, smiles, and pleasant emotions connected with processing of humor. At that we usually don't try to understand that nature, i.e. we don't want to know why some things are funny and some are not.
Least of us want to know the nature of humor and the mechanism of our response to different funnies. These serious people study such unserious matter very seriously. For example, Andrea A. Samson, Stefan Zysset and Oswald Huber investigated different steps of brain's reaction to fun: incongruity detection and incongruity resolution . According to  there are several types of cartoons depending on incongruity baseline upon a funny situation - visual puns, semantic cartoons and TOM (Theory of Mind) cartoons. ''Incongruity detection-incongruity resolution'' is part in all forms of humor to a certain degree, although these three different kinds of cartoons require different cognitive skills to be processed/understood/resolved. While visual puns are the easiest, it is a bit more complex to process semantic humor and additional perspective taking skills are required to understand TOM humor.
It is shown, that incongruity detection and incongruity resolution are separate processes activating different areas of the brain. Aside from the question which areas of the brain are involved in resolving activity, it seems that success in this process gives pleasure for many of us.
Generally we need not more than 6 seconds to understand a cartoon . These 6 seconds contains all stages: 1. Detection of incongruity (i.e. realizing problem to be resolved). 2. Resolving incongruity, i.e. successful answer to a question: ''What the hell does it mean?''. We feel ourselves as capable researchers who made important discovery after successful resolving incongruity! And all these happen in just 6 seconds!
Thus, resolving a cartoon appears to be a micro-research, and everyone who is capable to laugh at funny cartoon, especially at TOM cartoons, is generally capable to perform serious scientific work. So exposing TOM only cartoons to people would serve as some kind of express test: who do you communicate with? From another and wider point of view, exposing funny cartoons to people may serve as an express-test for their overall level of human development.
1. Wilkins J., Eisenbraun A. J. Humor Theories and the Physiological Benefits of Laughter // Holistic Nursing Practice. - November-December 2009. - Volume 23. - Issue 6. - p. 349-354.
2. Samson A. C., Zysset S., Huber O. Cognitive humor processing: different logical mechanisms in nonverbal cartoons - an fMRI study // Social neuroscience. - 2008. - Volume 3. - Issue 2. - p. 125-40.
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