Monday, March 27, 2017

Get ready to laugh. This is a good one.

Why is this funny?
“I wasn't originally going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.” 
Did you find it funny? If you didn't, then this post is just wrecked. Okay, it's funny (whew!).
 
But why?
We laughed because of the "eureka moment, the instant when the duality of a joke is finally realized, which means the human mind must conceive of two competing interpretations at once. It’s through bisociation, or this clash of definitions, that humor is born. For instance, consider the two meanings of “changed my mind.”
You had no idea that was going on, did you? Well, that's not all. Some researchers have gotten involved, and you know what that means.
Liane Gabora at the University of British Columbia and Kirsty Kitto at Queensland University of Technology in Australia attempted to crack the secret code of humor, specifically the cognitive process that results in laughter. These researchers took a novel approach, utilizing the mathematical framework of quantum theory. That doesn’t mean that the brain is a quantum machine, but that a mathematical process called quantum formalism can help to explain its processes.
In quantum land there is an idea called superposition.
This is when an object can exist in two places at once. When a measurement is taken, however, the position becomes fixed, and superposition vanishes. The same thing happens in our brain when we “get the joke.” Once the conflict is “resolved,” or when we settle on a meaning, ambiguity disappears.
So there. I took note of Kirsty Kitto's name. If you use that name in a novel, the reader wouldn't believe it. There's a picture of Kirsty over there on the right. I suppose that if you live in The Outback of Australia you don't have to worry about your hair.

Now the photo on the left captures on a rock in Central Park. I'd be pretty excited, too. Perhaps I'd even laugh as the superposition settled in on me.

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