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Theories of humor - Wikipedia
There are many theories of humor which attempt to explain what humor is, what social functions it serves, and what would be considered humorous. Among the prevailing types of theories that attempt to account for the existence of humor, there are psychological theories, the vast majority of which consider humor to be very healthy behavior; there are spiritual theories, which consider humor to be an inexplicable mystery, very much like a mystical experience.[1] Although various classical theories of humor and laughter may be found, in contemporary academic literature, three theories of humor appear repeatedly: relief theory, superiority theory, and incongruity theory.[2] Among current humor researchers, there is no consensus about which of these three theories of humor is most viable.[2] Proponents of each one originally claimed their theory to be capable of explaining all cases of humor.[2][3] However, they now acknowledge that although each theory generally covers its own area of focus, many instances of humor can be explained by more than one theory.[2][3][4][5] Incongruity and superiority theories, for instance, seem to describe complementary mechanisms which together create humor.[6]


Relief theory
Relief theory maintains that laughter is a homeostatic mechanism by which psychological tension is reduced.[2][3][7] Humor may thus for example serve to facilitate relief of the tension caused by one's fears.[8] Laughter and mirth, according to relief theory, result from this release of nervous energy.[2] Humor, according to relief theory, is used mainly to overcome sociocultural inhibitions and reveal suppressed desires. It is believed that this is the reason we laugh whilst being tickled, due to a buildup of tension as the tickler "strikes".[2][9] According to Herbert Spencer, laughter is an "economical phenomenon" whose function is to release "psychic energy" that had been wrongly mobilized by incorrect or false expectations. The latter point of view was supported also by Sigmund Freud.

Superiority theory
The superiority theory of humor traces back to Plato and Aristotle, and Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. The general idea is that a person laughs about misfortunes of others (so called schadenfreude), because these misfortunes assert the person's superiority on the background of shortcomings of others.[10] Socrates was reported by Plato as saying that the ridiculous was characterized by a display of self-ignorance.[11] For Aristotle, we laugh at inferior or ugly individuals, because we feel a joy at feeling superior to them.[12]

Incongruous juxtaposition theory
The incongruity theory states that humor is perceived at the moment of realization of incongruity between a concept involved in a certain situation and the real objects thought to be in some relation to the concept.[10]

Since the main point of the theory is not the incongruity per se, but its realization and resolution (i.e., putting the objects in question into the real relation), it is often called the incongruity-resolution theory.[10]


Detection of mistaken reasoning
In 2011, three researchers, Hurley, Dennett and Adams, published a book that reviews previous theories of humor and many specific jokes. They propose the theory that humor evolved because it strengthens the ability of the brain to find mistakes in active belief structures, that is, to detect mistaken reasoning.[46] This is somewhat consistent with the sexual selection theory, because, as stated above, humor would be a reliable indicator of an important survival trait: the ability to detect mistaken reasoning. However, the three researchers argue that humor is fundamentally important because it is the very mechanism that allows the human brain to excel at practical problem solving. Thus, according to them, humor did have survival value even for early humans, because it enhanced the neural circuitry needed to survive.

Misattribution theory
Misattribution is one theory of humor that describes an audience's inability to identify exactly why they find a joke to be funny. The formal theory is attributed to Zillmann & Bryant (1980) in their article, "Misattribution Theory of Tendentious Humor", published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. They derived the critical concepts of the theory from Sigmund Freud's Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious (note: from a Freudian perspective, wit is separate from humor), originally published in 1905.

Benign violation theory
The benign violation theory (BVT) is developed by researchers A. Peter McGraw and Caleb Warren.[47] The BVT integrates seemingly disparate theories of humor to predict that humor occurs when three conditions are satisfied: 1) something threatens one's sense of how the world "ought to be", 2) the threatening situation seems benign, and 3) a person sees both interpretations at the same time.

From an evolutionary perspective, humorous violations likely originated as apparent physical threats, like those present in play fighting and tickling. As humans evolved, the situations that elicit humor likely expanded from physical threats to other violations, including violations of personal dignity (e.g., slapstick, teasing), linguistic norms (e.g., puns, malapropisms), social norms (e.g., strange behaviors, risquΓ© jokes), and even moral norms (e.g., disrespectful behaviors). The BVT suggests that anything that threatens one's sense of how the world "ought to be" will be humorous, so long as the threatening situation also seems benign.


Sense of humor, sense of seriousness
One must have a sense of humor and a sense of seriousness to distinguish what is supposed to be taken literally or not. An even more keen sense is needed when humor is used to make a serious point.[48][49] Psychologists have studied how humor is intended to be taken as having seriousness, as when court jesters used humor to convey serious information. Conversely, when humor is not intended to be taken seriously, bad taste in humor may cross a line after which it is taken seriously, though not intended.[50]

Philosophy of humor bleg: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/03/philosophy-humor-bleg.html

Inside Jokes: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/inside-jokes
humor as reward for discovering inconsistency in inferential chain



People of all ages and cultures respond to humour. Most people are able to experience humourβ€”be amused, smile or laugh at something funnyβ€”and thus are considered to have a sense of humour. The hypothetical person lacking a sense of humour would likely find the behaviour inducing it to be inexplicable, strange, or even irrational.


Ancient Greece
Western humour theory begins with Plato, who attributed to Socrates (as a semi-historical dialogue character) in the Philebus (p. 49b) the view that the essence of the ridiculous is an ignorance in the weak, who are thus unable to retaliate when ridiculed. Later, in Greek philosophy, Aristotle, in the Poetics (1449a, pp. 34–35), suggested that an ugliness that does not disgust is fundamental to humour.


Confucianist Neo-Confucian orthodoxy, with its emphasis on ritual and propriety, has traditionally looked down upon humour as subversive or unseemly. The Confucian "Analects" itself, however, depicts the Master as fond of humorous self-deprecation, once comparing his wanderings to the existence of a homeless dog.[10] Early Daoist philosophical texts such as "Zhuangzi" pointedly make fun of Confucian seriousness and make Confucius himself a slow-witted figure of fun.[11] Joke books containing a mix of wordplay, puns, situational humor, and play with taboo subjects like sex and scatology, remained popular over the centuries. Local performing arts, storytelling, vernacular fiction, and poetry offer a wide variety of humorous styles and sensibilities.


Physical attractiveness
90% of men and 81% of women, all college students, report having a sense of humour is a crucial characteristic looked for in a romantic partner.[21] Humour and honesty were ranked as the two most important attributes in a significant other.[22] It has since been recorded that humour becomes more evident and significantly more important as the level of commitment in a romantic relationship increases.[23] Recent research suggests expressions of humour in relation to physical attractiveness are two major factors in the desire for future interaction.[19] Women regard physical attractiveness less highly compared to men when it came to dating, a serious relationship, and sexual intercourse.[19] However, women rate humorous men more desirable than nonhumorous individuals for a serious relationship or marriage, but only when these men were physically attractive.[19]

Furthermore, humorous people are perceived by others to be more cheerful but less intellectual than nonhumorous people. Self-deprecating humour has been found to increase the desirability of physically attractive others for committed relationships.[19] The results of a study conducted by McMaster University suggest humour can positively affect one’s desirability for a specific relationship partner, but this effect is only most likely to occur when men use humour and are evaluated by women.[24] No evidence was found to suggest men prefer women with a sense of humour as partners, nor women preferring other women with a sense of humour as potential partners.[24] When women were given the forced-choice design in the study, they chose funny men as potential … [more]
article  list  wiki  reference  psychology  cog-psych  social-psych  emotion  things  phalanges  concept  neurons  instinct  πŸ‘½  comedy  models  theory-of-mind  explanans  roots  evopsych  signaling  humanity  logic  sex  sexuality  cost-benefit  iq  intelligence  contradiction  homo-hetero  egalitarianism-hierarchy  humility  reinforcement  EEA  eden  play  telos-atelos  impetus  theos  mystic  philosophy  big-peeps  the-classics  literature  inequality  illusion  within-without  dennett  dignity  social-norms  paradox  parallax  analytical-holistic  multi  econotariat  marginal-rev  discussion  speculation  books  impro  carcinisation  postrat  cool  twitter  social  quotes  commentary  search  farmers-and-foragers  πŸ¦€  evolution  sapiens  metameta  insight  novelty  wire-guided  realness  chart  beauty  nietzschean  class  pop-diff  culture  alien-character  confucian  order-disorder  sociality  🐝  integrity  properties  gender  gender-diff  china  asia  sinosphere  long-short-run  trust  religion  ideology 
april 2018 by nhaliday
A Bad Carver
decondensation and its malcontents
- condensation provided plausible deniability (so some people benefited from it)
- some recondensation happening, partially facilitated by technology

good take: https://twitter.com/lumenphosphor/status/794554089728249857
Personal image for the dangers of decondensation is "hidden micronutrients" - what if Soylent doesn't *really* contain everything you need?
postrat  carcinisation  essay  culture  society  trends  insight  things  aesthetics  vgr  meaningness  history  antiquity  πŸ¦€  water  unintended-consequences  2016  minimalism  multi  twitter  social  commentary 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Beauty is Fit | Carcinisation
Cage’s music is an example of the tendency for high-status human domains to ignore fit with human nervous systems in favor of fit with increasingly rarified abstract cultural systems. Human nervous systems are limited. Representation of existing forms, and generating pleasure and poignancy in human minds, are often disdained as solved problems. Domains unhinged from the desires and particularities of human nervous systems and bodies become inhuman; human flourishing, certainly, is not a solved problem. However, human nervous systems themselves create and seek out β€œfit” of the more abstract sort; the domain of abstract systems is part of the natural human environment, and the forms that exist there interact with humans as symbiotes. Theorems and novels and money and cathedrals rely on humans for reproduction, like parasites, but offer many benefits to humans in exchange. Humans require an environment that fits their nervous systems, but part of the definition of β€œfit” in this case is the need for humans to feel that they are involved in something greater (and perhaps more abstract) than this β€œanimal” kind of fit.
essay  reflection  carcinisation  πŸ¦€  aesthetics  postrat  thinking  culture  insight  operational  minimalism  parsimony  beauty 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Ra | Otium
Ra = smooth, blank, prestigeful (or maybe just statusful) authority


Vagueness, mental fog, β€œunderconfidence”, avoidance, evasion, blanking out, etc. are hallmarks of Ra. If cornered, a person embodying Ra will abruptly switch from blurry vagueness to anger and nihilism.

Ra is involved in the sense of β€œeveryone but me is in on the joke, there is a Thing that I don’t understand myself but is the most important Thing, and I must approximate or imitate or cargo-cult the Thing, and anybody who doesn’t is bad.”

Ra causes persistent brain fog or confusion, especially around economic thinking or cost-benefit analysis or quantitative estimates.

Ra causes a disinclination to express oneself. An impression that a person who is unknown or mysterious is more attractive or favorably received than a person who is an β€œopen book.”

Ra is fake Horus.
things  thinking  mystic  postrat  status  signaling  essay  civilization  society  power  insight  hmm  metabuch  πŸ¦€  hidden-motives  leviathan  models  2016  core-rats  minimalism  frisson  ratty  vague  cost-benefit  schelling  order-disorder  emotion  info-dynamics 
october 2016 by nhaliday
The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everday Life

A Book Response Prediction: https://www.overcomingbias.com/2017/03/a-book-response-prediction.html
I predict that one of the most common responses will be something like β€œextraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” While the evidence we offer is suggestive, for claims as counterintuitive as ours on topics as important as these, evidence should be held to a higher standard than the one our book meets. We should shut up until we can prove our claims.

I predict that another of the most common responses will be something like β€œthis is all well known.” Wise observers have known and mentioned such things for centuries. Perhaps foolish technocrats who only read in their narrow literatures are ignorant of such things, but our book doesn’t add much to what true scholars and thinkers have long known.


Elephant in the Brain on Religious Hypocrisy:
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august 2016 by nhaliday
Unenumerated: Artifacts of wealth: patterns in the evolution of collectibles and money
This is the first of at least two posts on the evolution of collectibles and money.Β  The goal is to explore the evolutionary and economic functions of the β€œornamental” or β€œceremonial” objects that are so common in the archaeological record. In this article, we will look broadly and visually at the patterns of evolution of artifacts, in terms of their material and visual characteristics, of the most common kinds of collectibles -- those objects that look to our modern eyes like jewelry.
carcinisation  history  anthropology  money  culture  essay  insight  len:long  πŸ¦€  contracts  postrat  szabo  techtariat  unaffiliated  wealth  cultural-dynamics  fungibility-liquidity 
august 2016 by nhaliday
The Awe Delusion
Art is a technology. If you did a Casablanca / Law & Order double feature you might notice that although Casablanca perhaps has more β€˜artistic value’ (that horribly vague phrase), Law & Order tells its stories with a mind-boggling efficiency that vastly outstrips the former. Some time after 1960 filmmakers learned how to tell more story with less.
thinking  art  philosophy  vgr  postrat  literature  insight  mystic  essay  hmm  aesthetics  len:short  πŸ¦€  minimalism  beauty 
june 2016 by nhaliday
Hallucinated Gods | Melting Asphalt
Somehow, between about 1250 and 500 BC people stopped experiencing their gods as hallucinations. Jaynes calls this period the "breakdown of the bicameral mind."

cocktail  religion  history  anthropology  psychology  postrat  speculation  cool  insight  simler  mystic  impro  essay  πŸ¦€  antiquity  sapiens  c:*  eden  s:*  roots  dennett  myth  theos  πŸ‘½  deep-materialism  multi  wiki  reference  ideas  volo-avolo  alien-character 
may 2016 by nhaliday
Goodreads | Gwern's review of Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle
- book about the PirahΓ£ and their language/culture
- reminds me of julian jaynes
- some interesting analysis in comment

They seem to need relatively little sleep, mature quickly, never plan ahead or make long-term investments (such as making wicker rather than palm leave baskets) or talk about the distant future/past (and will very rarely talk about anything they learned from someone now dead: "generally only the most experienced language teachers will do this, those who have developed an ability to abstract from the subjective use of their language and who are able to comment on it from an objective perspective"), and will casually throw away tools or things they will need soon. They know how to preserve meat, but never both unless intending to trade it; food is eaten whenever it's available, and since they fish at all hours, everyone might wake up at 3AM for fish.


They have difficulty understanding foreigners are like them, and can understand language, in a bizarre echo of the Chinese room:

Then I noticed another bemusing fact. The PirahΓ£s would converse with me and then turn to one another, in my presence, to talk about me, as though I was not even there.


Their language, in their view, emerges from their lives as PirahΓ£s and from their relationships to other PirahΓ£s. If I could utter appropriate responses to their questions, this was no more evidence that I spoke their language than a recorded message is to me evidence that my telephone is a native speaker of English. I was like one of the bright macaws or parrots so abundant along the Maici. My "speaking" was just some cute trick to some of them. It was not really speaking.

All of this is part of Everett's case that the PirahΓ£ are, like Luria's peasant, ruled by an "immediacy of experience principle" and this yields an extraordinarily conservative culture on which new ideas and concepts roll off like so much water off a duck's back.

Their supernatural beliefs are particularly fascinating: dreams are simply interpreted literally and discussed as supernatural events that happened, and any random thing can be a 'spirit', with regular theatrical performances of 'spirits' who are obviously tribe men (but when asked, PirahΓ£ deny that there is any connection between particular men and spirits, part of their weak grasp on personal identity (I was particularly amused by the Heraclitean tone of one anecdote: "PirahΓ£s occasionally talked about me, when I emerged from the river in the evenings after my bath. I heard them ask one another, 'Is this the same one who entered the river or is it kapioxiai [a dangerous spirit]?'"), where names change regularly and are considered new people). Some of the spirit appearances are group hallucinations or consensus, and Everett opens Don't Sleep with the anecdote of being part of a group of PirahΓ£ staring at an empty sand bank where they see the spirit Xigagai saying he will kill anyone going into the forest that day. This example is a bit perplexing: what could possibly be the use of this and why would they either perceive it or go along with it? Similarly, it's hard to see how the spirit outside the village talking all night about how he wanted to have sex with specific women of the village is serving any role, and the tribesman reaction when Everett walks up and asks to record his ranting is hilariously deadpan: "'Sure, go ahead', he answered immediately in his normal voice". Other spirits make more sense:

PirahΓ£s listen carefully and often follow the exhortations of the kaoaib6gi. A spirit might say something like "Don't want Jesus. He is not PirahΓ£", or "Don't hunt downriver tomorrow", or things that are commonly shared values, such as "Don't eat snakes." Through spirits, ostracism, food-sharing regulation, and so on, PirahΓ£ society disciplines itself.
culture  anthropology  woah  language  iq  genetics  postrat  cocktail  gwern  books  review  hmm  simler  πŸ¦€  mystic  population-genetics  sapiens  ratty  summary  🌞  eden  street-fighting  c:***  insight  2016  embedded-cognition  s:*  info-dynamics  pop-diff  quantitative-qualitative  farmers-and-foragers  dennett  theos  πŸ‘½  stories  deep-materialism  kinship  alien-character  time-preference  patience  social-norms  roots  poast  linguistics 
april 2016 by nhaliday
Universal Love, Said The Cactus Person | Slate Star Codex
"And John Stuart is one of / the dark satanic mills" - the big green bat

some nice purple prose for flavor too
fiction  rationality  drugs  thinking  postrat  yvain  regularizer  insight  contrarianism  essay  parable  len:short  ssc  πŸ¦€  πŸ€–  mystic  new-religion  meaningness  psychedelics  ratty  frontier  microfic  2015  metameta  vague  realness  emotion 
april 2016 by nhaliday
Overcoming Bias : School Is To Submit
Forager children aren’t told what to do; they just wander around and do what they like. But they get bored and want to be respected like adults, so eventually they follow some adults around and ask to be shown how to do things. In this process they sometimes have to take orders, but only until they are no longer novices. They don’t have a single random boss they don’t respect, but can instead be trained by many adults, can select them to be the most prestigious adults around, and can stop training with each when they like.

Schools work best when they set up an apparently similar process wherein students practice modern workplaces habits. Start with prestigious teachers, like the researchers who also teach at leading universities. Have students take several classes at at a time, so they have no single β€œboss” who personally benefits from their following his or her orders. Make class attendance optional, and let students pick their classes. Have teachers continually give students complex assignments with new ambiguous instructions, using the excuse of helping students to learn new things. Have lots of students per teacher, to lower costs, to create excuses for having students arrive and turn in assignments on time, and to create social proof that other students accept all of this. Frequently and publicly rank student performance, using the excuse of helping students to learn and decide which classes and jobs to take later. And continue the whole process well into adulthood, so that these habits become deeply ingrained.
hanson  education  signaling  economics  contrarianism  insight  ritual  essay  values  thinking  things  speculation  civilization  institutions  higher-ed  coordination  X-not-about-Y  πŸ€–  new-religion  farmers-and-foragers  ratty  postrat  hidden-motives  2016  πŸ¦€  occam  domestication  c:**  s:*  social-norms  modernity  ideas  questions  impetus  discipline  self-control 
april 2016 by nhaliday
The Ideology Is Not The Movement | Slate Star Codex
reflections on ethnogenesis

"It seems like we’re also getting a 'protestant rationalist' tribe that’s based around the belief that Scott Alexander is the rightful caliph, in the sense that whenever I meet people who read this blog IRL I get a really strong shared-tribal-bond feeling (which is somewhat discomfiting, since I’m not used to strong feelings of tribal bonds)." - Pku in comment
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april 2016 by nhaliday

bundles : stars

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