Why we LOL

NeuWrite San Diego

Humor is a difficult concept to articulate. We might not always know why things are funny, but we do tend to know what kinds of things are funny. It comes in many forms, and general consensus is that things like videos of treadmill mishaps, cynical comics and corny puns are funny.

Luckily, there’s a pretty large body of research that takes humor seriously. Technically, humor is “a positive emotion called mirth, which is typically elicited in social contexts by a cognitive appraisal process involving the perception of playful, nonserious incongruity, and which is expressed by the facial and vocal behavior of laughter.” [1]

Not surprisingly, Freud had a few thoughts on humor. He believed that it helps us relieve inner tension that arises from our constant desire for things like food and sex [2]. Jokes allow us to express our anxieties in a lighter way, so the things we…

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