Humour and laughter have been the subject of study as far back as ancient Greece and during the last fifteen years or so they have received an increasing amount of attention. I am involved in research in a wide range of humour related fields including laughter and humour in relation to:
*the evolution of human cognition and language
*physical and mental health
*digital entertainment and education
*communications and advertising
*different ages, genders, nationalities, religions etc.
At the core of my research is the idea that humour existed before the spoken word and that it functioned as a mechanism that served to socially bond individuals and groups, and communicate information. It has been widely recognized that the structure of humour involves breaks in patterns and it is my contention that the creation of humour served as a focused pattern recognition system that helped in the development of human cognition and language. It was also a system that was strongly reenforced by a panoply of physiological and psychological rewards. Furthermore, the two part system of humour and laughter was a system that provided a combination of communication and informatics that was, in fact, the beginning of language in humankind. Humour is far more than simply amusement and diversion, it helped to make us the social, learning, communicating beings that we are. A more complete understanding of humour will provide a wide range of benefits in every domain of human interaction from education to entertainment to artificial intelligence.
This following series of articles is an ongoing project to create a comprehensive database of information of the subjects of laughter, smiling, and humour. There will be new additions on an ongoing basis and I welcome your comments and suggestions and hope you find this information as interesting and enjoyable as I have.