I do not think that sounds like psycho-babble at all.
You seem to be referring to the EFFECTs of humor, or of enjoying humor.
I am starting to see the following picture of the phenomenon on the table:
First, there is a context, often a shared context. This creates some
expectation of congruity.
Second, something happens that violates (is INCONGRUOUS with) that. It
might happen "out there," or it might be made up or done by a humorist
on purpose, in order to be funny. That could be called the STIMULUS.
Third, there is a three-step process involving the SENSE OF HUMOR:
including (1) noticing (APPREHENDING) humor, (2) COMPREHENDING what is
or could be funny about it, and (3) enjoying (APPRECIATING) the humor
... or not. Steps one and two seem to be largely COGNITIVE (although
our sensitivity to them is surely affected by our emotions) and step 3
seems to be largely EMOTIONAL.
Fourth, there might be some catharsis, re-balancing of tension,
restoration to normal after arousal-jag, or something like that. I
think that is what you were talking about when I misunderstood you.
This might or might not be accompanied by, or followed by, some
EXPRESSION such as laughter, smiling, groaning, rolling of the eyes,
et cetera. All of this seems to be within the appreciator of the humor.
Fifth, there is some EFFECT on the relationship with the humor
initiator (perhaps being impressed), and/or with the object of the
humor (perhaps gaining perspective on it), and/or with fellow
appreciators of the humor (perhaps bonding).
All of these things happen together in a mish-mash and joking may go
back and forth and the whole situation might be very complex in
particular cases, but ... does this begin to describe the complex
phenomenon that is "on the table" to be defined, characterized,
specified, accounted for, and so forth?
Is this a simplistic starting point for the journey toward a theory of
humor? If so, I will start to try and organize all that on a simple
website called HumorHypothesis.com - which will change radically all
Quoting KENNETH CARPENTER <[log in to unmask]>:
> Not exactly.
> I'll try to explain. I'm not sure if the following will sound
> scholarly enough or more like a conversation in a bar with drinks.
> It is probably the latter but here goes.
> The description below describes an extreme case but I believe that
> the same conditions apply in smaller measure to milder cases. And I
> am talking about perfectly healthy individuals.
> Strictly from the point of restoring a balance "of the humors",
> which seems to be where I always am coming from, we require a
> homeostatic continuing system of body control that allows us to
> function without difficulty. Psychological stresses to our psyche
> manifest themselves in body responses that are disturbances to the
> healthy body control. Humor is a trigger to cause a release from the
> things we do that tighten our bodies in reaction to the next insult
> that is added on. That release or relaxing of tensions that comes
> with the recognition of a new perpective is enjoyable. Endorphins
> come because part of the unbalance held back on enjoyment during the
> stressful time. Laughter carries with it body movements that may
> influence anything from oxygen exchange to unfired signals to muscles.
> Sorry if it sounds like psychobabble.
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Jim Lyttle <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 2:15:24 AM
> Subject: Re: Re; Humor and not humor
> I'm not sure whether the physiological thing to which you are
> referring is laughter or brain firings.
> Laughter, of course, existed long before anything that we call humor
> and is often non-humorous: as when it is from nervousness,
> roar-of-triumph, nitrous oxide, et cetera.
> Brain firings describe how humor operates in the brain. That is
> interesting and is certain to enrich our understanding of what is
> going on. I do not share the reductionist view that those firings
> "cause" humor. I really think that we exist, and we do notice
> incongruous things (because recognizing patterns has survival value)
> and, if that incongruity is not too threatening, that we can find it
> funny. I do not think we are puppets, making up explanations for
> things that happened "because of" brain firings.
> Not everyone agrees with that.
> I do think that being "enjoyable" seems to be a necessary condition
> for humor (and not for tickling ...)
> Quoting KENNETH CARPENTER <[log in to unmask]>:
>> Humor is (or one of the things that humor is) an enjoyable response,
>> psychological but accompanying or resulting from physiological
>> changes. The middle age people got one thing righ; it restores a
>> balance. and one thing wrong, the exact things that were out of
>> whack. I can't cite that. My opinion is not from research.
>> What do you think.
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Jim Lyttle <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 4:27:15 AM
>> Subject: Re: Re; Humor and not humor
>> I really don't understand the tone of these discussions.
>> As far as I can tell, the essence of everything is complex. What is
>> the essence of communication? trust? leadership? It is hard to think
>> of any phenomenon rich enough to care about that is not essentially
>> complex. It is beyond me why anyone would think that this was
>> insightful on the one hand, or a subject of ridicule on the other.
>> It is also beyond me why folks think humor is too subjective to be
>> defined. Humor is certainly not (just) in the eye of the beholder, any
>> more than art or high quality food or communication or anything else
>> human. If humor was just in the eye of the beholder, then about half
>> of the people would find Bill Cosby funnier than Jim Lyttle, and half
>> of the people would find the opposite. The fact is that most people
>> agree about who is more funny, what food tastes best, and so forth.
>> It is entirely uninteresting to note that there are some borderline
>> cases. Does the existence of a turban send us into a tailspin,
>> doubting the validity of our definitions of scarves and hats? Absurd.
>> Everything has borderline cases and grey areas. That is no reason to
>> hide under the bed and say "It can't be done."
>> In general, it seems inappropriate to assert that humor is "just"
>> anything. I thought we just agreed that it was complex??
>> And what is the meaning of being on one "side" or the other, when
>> seeking the truth? The whole point of the kindergarten tale of the
>> blind men and the elephant is to remind us how foolish it is to take
>> up sides, to hold debates, and to care who wins. That is how we do
>> politics, not science.
>> It seems to me that we have, as a starting point, vague agreement that
>> humor consists of (at least) some cognitive event, somewhat like
>> Raskin has described, and some emotion akin to mirth, joy or
>> what-have-you. When these two things meet, we have humor ... maybe ...
>> sort-of ... pending exceptions to be studied.
>> Admittedly this is a pretty vague and pathetic start. But can we agree
>> roughly on this, or something like this, and move forward instead of
>> JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
>> 139 E HIGH ST APT 9
>> POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
>> BB: (610) 850-5050
> JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
> 139 E HIGH ST APT 9
> POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
> BB: (610) 850-5050
JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
139 E HIGH ST APT 9
POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
BB: (610) 850-5050