Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

As a belated follow-on to my rant on ol’ Hissy Chrissy Hitchies’ contention that women aren’t funny, I offer this film clip via LiveScience: Humor and the Sexes. Be forewarned that you must suffer through a Yahoo ad in the beginning which pokes gentle fun at Incompetent Men and Their Tools, a subject that is always a knee-slappper. In the meat of the film, Allan Reiss discusses the tantalizing observations that men’s and women’s brains respond differently to humor.

From Hitchen’s Vanity Fair article:

The researchers found that men and women (10 each – Doc Bushwell) share much of the same humor-response system; both use to a similar degree the part of the brain responsible for semantic knowledge and juxtaposition and the part involved in language processing. But they also found that some brain regions were activated more in women. These included the left prefrontal cortex, suggesting a greater emphasis on language and executive processing in women, and the nucleus accumbens … which is part of the mesolimbic reward center.

And…

“Women appeared to have less expectation of a reward, which in this case was the punch line of the cartoon,” said the report’s author, Dr. Allan Reiss. “So when they got to the joke’s punch line, they were more pleased about it.” The report also found that “women were quicker at identifying material they considered unfunny.”

Reiss et al. may be on to something there. I’ll remember my inherent gender-based mental acuity as to what I consider “unfunny” here on the bonobo-scat splattered Chimp Refuge. “Unfunny” is not a common occurence here, well, other than when I splat my most-boring-woman-on-earth bullshittery here on the Refuge.

Now the tickling of my nucleus accumbens…that could explain why I listened with jaw-dropped astonishment at the lengthy scatology of a certain documentary film, and nearly dropped out of my chair at the sinny-mah in paroxysms of hooting when I heard the punchline of “The Aristocrats.” That was almost orgasmic.

As a sidenote, Reiss makes press via Hitchens and now has a little film on the scientific equivalent of The Weekly World News. Now I grant you that the media has latched on to this “accessible to the masses” science story, but I’m detecting the whiff of self-promotion here. It may not be as bad as DTC ads in big pharma but still…where is the purity of academia, I ask you?

Comments

  1. #1 Renee
    July 11, 2007

    Maybe I missed you explaining this, but how is understanding and appreciating humor equivalent to being good at doing it?

  2. #2 Doc Bushwell
    July 11, 2007

    Maybe I missed you explaining this, but how is understanding and appreciating humor equivalent to being good at doing it?

    You missed nothing, because I did not explain it. Appreciation of humor is not equivalent to having the talent to be a good stand-up comic. Hitchie’s contention* (see link) is that not only are women challenged at generating humor, but also inclined to be “unfunny” when confronted with humor. I would say, and I expect you would agree, that in the real world, i.e., not solely in that of the gadfly journalist trying to get a rise out of his audience, there’s a stronger differentiation.

    Reiss’ observations on the differences on how our brains process humor are pretty interesting.

    *Keep in mind that Hitchens sets himself up as an enfant terrible/ whipping boy, and that is ever so much fun for shrill harpies such as myself to lash away at him, tongue lodged firmly in my cheek.

  3. #3 Amy P.
    July 11, 2007

    I’ve always thought you were terribly unfunny, Doc, but I suppose I just have low expectations on account of my breasts.

  4. #4 Doc Bushwell
    July 11, 2007

    I’ve always thought you were terribly unfunny, Doc, but I suppose I just have low expectations on account of my breasts.

    Now, see…if you bound those babies and scarfed down an androgen here or there, you’d think I was a regular laff riot.

  5. #5 Kevin Beck
    July 12, 2007

    “women were quicker at identifying material they considered unfunny.”

    This explains they always pick me first and without hesitation from police line-ups, even on those occasions when I’m not the real perp.