Special Reports

Quantum Theory Holds The Key To Our Sense of Humor


Quantum theory has something to do with the weird and unexplainable things in the universe. As time goes by, discoveries get even weirder and the latest is that it has something to do with man's sense of humor.

Although humor is a natural part of human life, the question why humans find something funny and another thing not at all is a complete mystery. A lot of studies have tried to understand humor in a deeper sense but none seemed satisfactory.

However, a recent study conducted by Kirsty Kitto at Queensland University of Technology in Australia and Liane Gabora of University of British Columbia tried to decode sense of humor using the mathematical framework of quantum theory called quantum formalism.

What the scientists want to emphasize is the eureka moment, when the duality of a joke is finally realized. Referred to as bisociation, this is the time when the mind must hold two interpretations to the same joke. When these definitions, humor is born.

According to the scientists, bisociation can be likened to superposition in quantum mechanics. In superposition, one object can exist in two places at the same time, but vanishes when the position become fixed. The same thing happens when the brain 'gets the joke.' However, ambiguity disappears when the conflict is resolved.

The scientists explained that bisociation is not the shift of two meanings from one to the other in order to elicit laughter. Instead, the brain perceives two meanings at the same time. That's how Kitto and Gabora arrived at the conclusion that perhaps a quantum approach is necessary to explain humor.

Aside from these, there are also other variables that come into play. Some of them include how funny the joke is, the delivery of the joke, how perceptive the listener is at the time of delivery, and more. Quantum formalism takes all these variables into account.

The duo believes that further study is needed before the quantum theory of humor can be established.

The study is published in the journal Frontiers of Physics.

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