Are the Brains of Funny People Different?
Researchers in California recently set out to discover the neuroscience involved in creative humor by comparing brain scans of professional and amateur comedians to those of a control group. The goal of the study was to learn more about humor, creativity, and the brain.
First, each study participant was shown a cartoon without any text and was asked to write two accompanying captions—one funny and one mundane. Then, researchers performed a functional magnetic imaging brain scan on each participant. Finally, each caption was assessed by a panel to evaluate its humor level.
When information from the brain scan was analyzed, the medial prefrontal cortex and temporal association regions of the brain were found to be particularly active in the creation of humorous captions. The study showed that these areas of the brain were the most active in the professional comedians—those with the most experience at being funny.
Image Credit: Thinkstock