Not entirely true. Any joke is built on association. The further apart the objects of association, the funnier. And the brain reacts in this way precisely because of the activation of non-standard neural connections. Associative thinking. A trivial example: Stirlitz opened a window, a barrel came out of the window. Stirlitz closed the window, the barrel disappeared ... The joke is built on the association of the meanings of the word "barrel". A play on words ... That is why the most logical jokes will be the most banal ...
From the point of view of the theory of literature, there is no concept of absolutely funny, as well as absolutely interesting. There is no perfect poem that would inspire everyone, there is no perfect book. Even the "Bible" cannot be called that because there are different religions. Someone, perhaps more "sticks" "Dianetics".
So I gradually bring you to the idea that everything depends on experience. Life, cultural and linguistic. Indeed, in order to understand, for example, an American comedian, you need to a) have an idea of the American way of life, b) know the language, because not all puns can be translated.
The brain compares the incoming information with the developed criteria, and, if it matches them, the person laughs. Children laugh at one thing, adults at another. There is professional humor, for example, the humor of doctors or programmers. Again, there are people who do not understand irony.
In a word: everything is relative and depends on experience
Humor has long been laid out into its component parts, laws were derived. Like, based on opposition or similarity, on unexpectedness, and so on. But still, its nature is incomprehensible and it is not for nothing that it is considered the pinnacle of higher nervous activity, and in everyday life, as a rule, one who does not understand humor is hopelessly stupid. I believe that even the most powerful neural network with the deepest learning can never make you laugh, even if you upload all the humorists of the world to its base, starting with Egyptian hieroglyphs ...
Since none of the respondents answered the question, explaining how the mechanism of perception of the funny works, and the neuroscientist has not yet appeared, I will try to answer this question from the point of view of an aesthetic theory (I just passed on her exam).
So. One way or another, such categories as "laughter", "humor", "funny", etc. are associated with the aesthetic value of the Comic (aesthetic values are values that arise as a result of the subject's sensual contact with any object, if this contact is not of a utilitarian nature and is emotionally experienced. In addition to the comic, there are categories of Beautiful, Sublime, Tragic, Ugly and their various modifications. But this is not the main thing now). There are several theories explaining the role and significance of laughter in the entire history of mankind, as well as the historical features of the comic, relative to different eras.
Since many letters need to be written to describe the structure and function of the comic, and I am writing a diploma and already the eighth since I’m distracted by The Question, I’ll probably copy the content of the ticket that I prepared before the exam and will be like that.
The comic is the only aesthetic value in which the subject acts not only as a recipient, receiver of information, but also takes the creative initiative. In the comic, there is no need for a certain distance between subject and object. On the contrary, the subject must destroy it by showing the contradictory nature of the object. Such a breakdown of the distance with the subsequent discrediting of the object in a "positive" and non-aggressive form is the comic.
The comic, like the tragic, includes a certain contradiction; Here, too, a loss of values occurs, but this loss occurs deliberately, since these values no longer carry important values for a person. As in the tragic, there is something cleansing in the comic, in this case laughter. The comic is often identified with the funny. But it is important to remember that comic is not equal to laughter, laughter has different reasons. Laughter in the comic is a reaction to a certain content.
What is the essence of the comic and its functions?
It should be said that in society there is a need for spiritual overcoming of what has lost the right to Existence. In the world of human values, false values or pseudo-values, anti-values appear, objectively acting as a hindrance to the spiritual, social existence of a person. The comic is a way of re-evaluating values, an opportunity to separate outdated values from actual ones. The comic enters the world of misconceptions and tries to introduce common sense. Exposure is achieved by a laughing reaction. The meaning of the comic is the humiliation of certain socially ranked values. Before certain social upheavals - an explosion of comic creativity. Together with negation in comicism, the freedom of the human spirit is affirmed. Laughing and playing, a person seems to challenge outdated values and views, thereby affirming their freedomand the ability to overcome these values. Marx: it is necessary for humanity to part with its past laughing. Comic is the assertion of creative forces, novelty, ideals, for the denial of false values occurs when the positive principle dominates. However, when there is no positive beginning behind the laughter and it is aimed at something completely different, we are not dealing with the comic. Normal comic is born in the problem areas of human culture.
The structure of the comic. The comic arises when there is some kind of contradiction in the perceived object. For the comic to appear, some anti-value must be manifested in the object, that is, this object must be inconsistent with our usual "adequate" picture of the world, must contradict it at the level of absurdity and be very far from the dominant values. This incongruity is called a comic incongruity. Initially, it is an internal inconsistency in the object. In the light of significant values, this incongruity becomes absurd, absurd, ridiculous, revealing. The condition for the realization of the comic is the spiritual freedom of a person, freedom from those outdated values that he ridicules. Thus, comic discrepancy is a form of the comic's existence.
This form, for its creation, presupposes the presence of a certain skill in a person. This skill - a sense of humor - is one of the aesthetic senses. It: 1) is inherent in the aesthetically developed mind; 2) implies a penchant for rich associations; 3) assumes the ability to grasp the contradictions of reality; 4) opposes them to the aesthetic ideal and dominant values;
Sense of humor, thus - the ability to perceive the comic, and wit is the ability to create it, the ability to notice and evaluate the contradictions of reality so that their comic becomes to the point of absurdity obvious.
Comic treatment of reality requires certain art forms to capture and sharpen the contradictions.
The main forms of the comic.
1. Pure comic. A comic devoid of the slightest critical content - a play on words, a joke, a pun.
Humor is one of the modifications of the meaningful comic, and not just a feeling. comic aimed at a phenomenon that is positive in its essence; the phenomenon is so good that we do not seek to destroy it with laughter.
Satire is a sharp manifestation of the comic in art, which is a poetic, humiliating denunciation of phenomena. It is aimed at phenomena that are, in principle, not acceptable to humans. Satirical laughter is hard, evil, revealing, destroying. In art, satire and humor are inextricably linked, one imperceptibly turns into another.
Grotesque is a comic discrepancy in a fantastic form. The grotesque is based on the hyperbole of vice and bringing it to cosmic proportions. The grotesque has two sides: the mocking side, the mocking side, and the playful side.
Irony is a satirical technique in which the true cmThe thought is hidden or contradicts (contrasted) with the explicit meaning. Irony should create the feeling that the subject of discussion is not what it seems. Irony also requires intelligence. Irony - hidden comic, blasphemy under the guise of praise.
Sarcasm is the opposite of irony. caustic mockery, the highest degree of irony, based not only on the heightened contrast of the implied and the expressed, but also on the immediate intentional exposure of the implied. Sarcasm in general always contains a negative connotation and indicates a lack in relation to what is happening. Like satire, sarcasm involves the struggle against hostile phenomena of reality through their ridicule. Ruthlessness, harshness of exposure - a distinctive feature of sarcasm. Unlike irony, sarcasm expresses the highest degree of resentment, hatred.
There is a simple criterion that determines how funny a joke will be - it is unexpected and logical. The more unexpected and the more logical the joke, the funnier it is.
A very logical, but expected joke will be called a button accordion, bearded. Example: "They buried the mother-in-law - they broke two button accordions." Everything is logical here, but not funny because of the expectation, lack of novelty.
Another example: "- I don't understand why the language of the Jews is called Hebrew, and not Hebrew? - the point is that the Jews have God took two letters "and" at a discount. This joke is very unexpected, but illogical - therefore not funny. Such jokes are called stupid.
If the joke is both expected and illogical, then it provokes the opposite reaction - irritation.
Not an expert in such matters, but read somewhere that laughter evolved evolutionarily as a reaction of consciousness to a danger that was avoided. For example, our ancestor with a club in his hand met an angry saber-toothed tiger, which unsuccessfully stumbled and fell off a cliff. The triumphant hoot was the prototype of laughter.
This is partly "programmed" in us: laughter as a reaction to a stimulus, in this case to a positive one: I laugh - that is, I like this joke, I enjoy the way the information is presented, I am delighted, etc. Babies also laugh, and also for about the same reason: they are pleased, they are comfortable, they like tickling, kissing, games. They won't understand jokes, but the mechanism of "triggering" is approximately the same. With age, associations are already working in full swing, different neural connections are triggered. Think about what is funny to you. Sometimes, so to speak, the external form of the word is ridiculed, children's teasers, rhymes are based on this. Often in such cases, it is important to tell a joke-rhyme-teaser in this sequence, to keep the rhyme, otherwise it is not funny. Often in a joke one or another role model is ridiculed, various stereotypes are exploited. It is important here whether you understand the context, whether you have heard such jokes before, whether jokes on this topic seem funny to you at all. Often not so much the phrase itself is funny, but the situation, a kind of paradox, when a person says something absurd, apart from him this phrase will not cause laughter, but if he uttered it, it looks comical. Often someone resembles someone, refers to funny memories. And with the second listening, the joke is no longer so interesting, since your brain has already processed it, this neural path is already paved (not very competent from the point of view of a specialist , but something like that), and the second time the brain is not interested in stomping on it. How to bite off a piece, spit it out, and again ... well, I see. :)