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Publisher's Summary

Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funnyand why? In this fascinating investigation into the science of humor and laughter, cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems uncovers what’s happening in our heads when we giggle, guffaw, or double over with laughter. While we typically think of humor in terms of jokes or comic timing, in Ha! Weems proposes a provocative new model. Humor arises from inner conflict in the brain, he argues, and is part of a larger desire to comprehend a complex world. Showing that the delight that comes with getting” a punchline is closely related to the joy that accompanies the insight to solve a difficult problem, Weems explores why surprise is such an important element in humor, why computers are terrible at recognizing what’s funny, and why it takes so long for a tragedy to become acceptable comedic fodder. From the role of insult jokes to the benefit of laughing for our immune system, Ha! reveals why humor is so idiosyncratic, and why how-to books alone will never help us become funnier people.
Packed with the latest research, illuminating anecdotes, and even a few jokes, Ha! lifts the curtain on this most human of qualities. From the origins of humor in our brains to its life on the standup comedy circuit, this book offers a delightful tour of why humor is so important to our daily lives.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Scott Weems (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 05-26-17

Good place to start in the study of humor

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?


Would you be willing to try another book from Scott Weems? Why or why not?

Probably not

Any additional comments?

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting when I searched for a book about humor but I wanted a book that would detail the intricacies of humor and learn more about why jokes are funny and how some people can tell them with such ease. This book did not disappoint. The author is sort of a science nerd and I don’t think he is one of the naturally funny people. Even with all his research he isn’t funny in the book even though of course he says this isn’t his aim. But I found it easy to listen to and I learned many of the intricacies that I was looking to learn about. I confirmed a lot of things that I thought to be true already like the role of surprise in jokes. Overall a good book. He goes off on tangents and there is no overall tie in to all the topics he scratches. This is a good place to start if you’re looking for a basis on humor study.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By LJM VO on 12-17-16


I guess not many of us analyze the reasons why we find something funny. Or why different people laugh at different things. I personally will find something totally hilarious, while someone sitting next to me won't even chuckle. Humor is a funny thing I guess. No pun intended. 😆

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2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Peter Piper on 04-16-15

Very well structured exploration of humor

This book covers humor in great detail and does so in a very engaging way. The narration is flawless.

My only disappointment is that laughter gets very little attention by comparison to humor. They are related, but distinct and the book title does suggest that the main focus is laughter. It is not.

After all, we can find something humorous, but not laugh and we can laugh, despite a lack of humor.
Despite this disappointment, I found it to be an educational, engaging and entertaining book overall.

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