This is Episode 12 of PsychCrunch the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.
Can psychology help us to be funnier? Our presenter Ginny Smith hears how a key ingredient of humour is "incongruity" and the surprise of unexpected meanings. Individual words too can be amusing, but actually most of the time we laugh not because we've seen or heard a joke, but as a natural part of friendly interaction.
Our guests, in order of appearance, are: Cardiff University neuroscientist Dean Burnett, author of The Happy Brain; psychologist Tomas Engelthalerat the University of Warwick, who co-authored a paper on the funniest words in English; and "stand up scientist" Sophie Scottat UCL, who gave the 2017 Christmas lectures on the neuroscience of voices, speech and laughter.
Background reading for this episode: