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Mechanism and function of humor identified by new evolutionary theory
Date:6/27/2008

vide the basis for an increased understanding of human cognitive functions: "The development of pattern recognition as displayed in humour could also form the basis of humankind's instinctive linguistic ability. Syntax and grammar function in fundamental patterns for which a child has an innate facility. All that differs from one individual to the next is the content of those patterns in terms of vocabulary."

Pattern Recognition Theory also identifies a correlation between the development of humour and the development of cognitive ability in infants. "Amusing childish games such as peek-a-boo, clap hands and tower block demolition all exhibit the precise mechanism of humour as it appears in any adult form, but whether these instances of infantile humour actively contribute to the cognitive development of the child or are simply a record of the evolution of the species played out in the individual, is as yet unclear.

"Peek-a-boo can elicit a humorous response in infants as young as four months, and is, effectively, a simple process of surprise repetition, forming a clear, basic pattern. As the infant develops, the patterns in childish humour become more complex and compounded and attain spatial as well as temporal elements until, finally, the child begins to grapple with the patterns involved in linguistic humour."

Alastair Clarke identifies the implications of pattern recognition theory beyond anthropology. "Understanding the basic function and mechanism of humour as it begins in infants will benefit the ongoing research into the presence of humour in primates and other mammals." He goes on to propose possible technological developments: "Now that we understand the mechanism of humour the possibility of creating an artificial intelligence being that could develop its own sense of humour becomes very real. This would, for the first time, create an AI capable of exhibiting one of the defining characteristics that make us human, making it see
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Contact: Nicola Hern
nicola@pyrrhichouse.co.uk
44-079-800-98652
Pyrrhic House
Source:Eurekalert

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