Sunday, October 10, 2010
We counted the number of words in every joke that people submitted. According to the data, jokes containing 103 words are the funniest.
Many of the jokes submitted contained reference to animals. We found that jokes mentioning ducks are funnier than others. Perhaps it’s because of their beaks, or webbed feet, or odd shape. Regardless, the implication is clear – if you are going to tell a joke involving an animal, make it a duck.
One of the most important parts of the body’s defenses against disease and illness is its ‘immune system’. Experiments suggest that people who laugh more, and are able to look on the funny side of life, have healthier immune systems than others.
A good laugh also increases our heart rate, helps us breathe more deeply, and stretches many different muscles in our face and upper body. In fact, it is like a mini work-out – a quick visit to the giggle gym.
One researcher estimated that a good laugh produces an increase in heart rate that is equivalent to ten minutes on a rowing machine or fifteen minutes on an exercise bike .
Philosophers and scientists have been fascinated by humour for over 2000 years. The famous philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC) wrote a great deal about the topic. Unfortunately, we only have indirect references to his ideas because his actual treatise on laughter has been lost in the mists of time. Interestingly, it is this ‘lost volume’ of humour that lays at the centre of the well known book and film ‘The Name of the Rose’.
Scientific research has shown that 35% of people have been tickled in the past week, 86% in the past year , 40% of people have tickled someone else in the past week, and 84% in the past year.