Understanding Jokes

Contributors:
  1. Zuzanna Balewski

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Description: Studies about neural activity related to processing jokes! Please see the Wiki to understand the organization of this repository. Abstract: To communicate successfully, we often go beyond the literal meaning of utterances: we make sarcastic remarks, ask for favors, and engage in face-saving acts. Do these abilities recruit the same mechanisms as literal interpretation? Or does pragmatic reasoning draw on general social-cognitive abilities? Prior patient evidence had implicated the right hemisphere (RH) in non-literal interpretation, but left open the question of which mechanisms in the RH are critical. In two fMRI studies – an initial study, and a larger pre-registered self-replication – we examined activity in three large-scale brain networks: the language network, the Theory of Mind (ToM) network, and the domain-general Multiple Demand (MD) network, which supports executive functions and has also been linked to pragmatic processes. In both studies, the ToM network (including its most mentalizing-selective component – the right temporo-parietal junction) responded more strongly to jokes than non-joke controls. In the second study, we additionally observed small Joke > Non-Joke effects in the language and MD networks. However, the effects in the ToM network were stronger, at least relative to the RH language and RH MD networks, as evidenced by reliable network-by-condition interactions. Thus ‘getting’ jokes – and perhaps pragmatic processing more broadly – draws most heavily on the brain network that supports social cognition and allows us to imagine what others are thinking.

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Components

  • Preregistration Document - Understanding Jokes (Study 2)

    A preregistration for Study 2 of 'Understanding Jokes' (The registration itself is at https://osf.io/k3m7b/.). This is a self-replication of Study 1 w...

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  • Study Materials

    Kline Struhl, Gallée, Balewski & 1 more
    Presentation scripts and stimuli

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  • Localizer Masks

    Kline Struhl, Balewski, Gallée & 1 more
    These are the localizer maps (*.img + *.hdr) used for Studies 1 & 2 in the "Understanding Jokes" repository.

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  • t & con maps (Studies 1 & 2)

    Kline Struhl, Balewski, Gallée & 1 more
    All t/con maps for Studies 1 and 2 of the "Understanding Jokes" project. For clarity, these have been converted to 'flat' directories (divided by task...

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  • Analysis - Study 1

    Kline Struhl, Gallée, Balewski & 1 more

    Recent Activity

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  • Analysis - Study 2

    Kline Struhl, Balewski, Gallée & 1 more

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  • Preprint - The role of the Theory of Mind network in understanding jokes

    Kline Struhl, Gallée, Balewski & 1 more
    To communicate successfully, we often go beyond literal meaning: we make sarcastic remarks, ask for favors, and engage in face-saving acts. Do these a...

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