Researchers study comedy on TV’s and its effect on your brain

Researchers in Japan are studying the effect a humorous TV programme has on the brain activity of viewers. Research engineers at the NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) have measured brain activities of people watching stand-up comedy or comedy sketches to estimate what kind of humour a TV viewer is experiencing. Writing in the laboratories’ magazine, Broadcast Technology, Senior Research Engineer Kazuteru Komine said the results had revealed there were two factors related to the humour induced by comedy. One was “sophistication”, which equated mainly with how well a comedy skit concluded. The other was “dynamism”, which related to how dynamic the performance was. The main brain activities for “sophistication” were in the medial prefrontal area, and for “dynamism” in the left superior temporal area. “These findings indicate that measuring a viewer’s brain will enable us to estimate what type of ‘humour’ a viewer is experiencing while viewing TV.” The STRL plans to continue its research using a wider range of programmes to verify its hypothesis. “Our eventual goal is to create a technology based on brain activity that can estimate the diverse range of psychological states (not simply humour) induced while a viewer is watching a programme,” Mr Komine said


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