The "RIGHT" Side of Humor

May 10, 1999
Jerry Seinfeld - Eddie Murphy - Bugs Bunny - The Three Stooges
Jim Carrey - Bill Cosby - Adam Sandler - Rosie O'Donnell
What do these people have in common? They are all funny but only if your right frontal lobe is intact. According to research published in the journal Brain, the right frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for our ability to understand the punch lines of their jokes.

In an article published in April 1999, researchers at the University of Toronto and Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care presented a study that examined people with brain damage for their ability to understand jokes. These scientists found that people with damage to the right frontal lobe were impaired in their ability to appreciate jokes and cartoons. These people had trouble picking out the appropriate funny punch lines of jokes and did not smile or laugh at cartoons that people without brain damage thought were funny.

Frontal Lobe (Right Hemisphere)

This study reinforces the idea that the frontal lobes of the brain play an important role in memory, emotions and attention. In fact, because our sense our humor is often a defining characteristic of our personality, this study shows that the frontal lobes of the brain are essential in making us who we are.

Reference: Shammi, P. and Stuss, D.T., Humour appreciation: a role of the right frontal lobe. Brain, 122:657-666, 1999.

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