Funny bone's all in the head

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The Independent Online

A serious piece of scientific research has located the "funny spot" in the brain where jokes generate a feeling of mirth and merriment.

A serious piece of scientific research has located the "funny spot" in the brain where jokes generate a feeling of mirth and merriment.

Scientists believe the region is vital for appreciating an outrageous punchline or clever pun. Without it we would have a sense-of-humour bypass.

Experiments on a group of 14 people who were told a series of jokes while lying in a brain scanner have revealed the funny spot to be a region of the cerebral cortex, which controls the "higher" functions of mental ability - even when the jokes are by Bernard Manning.

Raymond Dolan, of the Institute of Neurology in London, said: "We were interested in knowing whether to appreciate or to get a joke - and to experience the funniness of getting a joke - there was a particular brain region implicated."

The research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, has a serious side, in that it may explain why humour is such a necessary aspect of being human.

"What we showed was that one particular region of the brain was accessed by all jokes irrespective of their type."

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