Neuroscientist explains why unhappy people are funnier

Cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems thinks humor is worthy of serious academic study and writes about in his new book “Ha!” He explains why unhappy people are funnier.

Yet in tests measuring the ability to write cartoon captions, people who were more neurotic, assertive, manipulative and dogmatic were actually funnier. As the old saw holds, many of the best comics really are miserable.

Perhaps, Dr. Weems writes, unhappy people are “more likely than others to speak out in awkward or socially unacceptable ways to make a good joke.” Or, as people from Aristotle to Gertrude Stein have pointed out, unhappiness can breed creativity, and the best jokes require both intellectual gymnastics and astute observation of human nature.

Related: Nick Griffin on trying to make depression come out joyful

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