Reading more psychology research earlier this morning, an article by a cognitive behaviorist named Janet Gibson. She has done some research on the development of a sense of humour. Early psychologists felt that laughing, telling jokes, or acting out were examples of us hiding something or concealing our true intent. However, this does not ring true to me, and also to modern psychologists.
You see understanding and then finding humor in a joke is actually a sign of a intellectual grasp of a rather complicated view of the world. This helps me feel better. One of my travelling companions is my 10 year old daughter, and she has two modes. Laughing and joking is the main mode. The other is mad because she can’t do whatever she wants. She jokes around about just about anything, especially anything with the slightest hint of irony. So I am glad that moden science gives that a thumbs-up in terms of advanced cognitive ability. Gives me some hope.
Think about what you have to do in order to find something funny. You have to first, suspend reality and imagine in your mind the scenario being described. Then actually detect something is amiss, and usually in multiple scenarios. Finally, you have to determine how to resolve the issue, eliminate non humorous alternatives and focus on the one that is funny.
Last you actually have to experience the emotion of discovery, elation, and then laughter. Quite complex this process of hearing a joke and finding the humor in it!
So bottom line. Laugh more, tell more jokes. It relieves anxiety and helps us get through tough times.