Brain hemodynamic activity during viewing and re-viewing of comedy movies explained by experienced humor
Jääskeläinen,Iiro P.; Pajula,Juha; Tohka,Jussi; Lee,Hsin Ju; Kuo,Wen Jui; Lin,Fa Hsuan (2016-06-21)
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Humor is crucial in human social interactions. To study the underlying neural processes, three comedy clips were shown twice to 20 volunteers during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Inter-subject similarities in humor ratings, obtained immediately after fMRI, explained inter-subject correlation of hemodynamic activity in right frontal pole and in a number of other brain regions. General linear model analysis also indicated activity in right frontal pole, as well as in additional cortical areas and subcortically in striatum, explained by humorousness. The association of the right frontal pole with experienced humorousness is a novel finding, which might be related to humor unfolding over longer time scales in the movie clips. Specifically, frontal pole has been shown to exhibit longer temporal receptive windows than, e.g., sensory areas, which might have enabled processing of humor in the clips based on holding information and reinterpreting that in light of new information several (even tens of) seconds later. As another novel finding, medial and lateral prefrontal areas, frontal pole, posterior-inferior temporal areas, posterior parietal areas, posterior cingulate, striatal structures and amygdala showed reduced activity upon re-viewing of the clips, suggesting involvement in processing of humor related to novelty of the comedic events.
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