What You Still Don't Know About You

After however many years of living, do you still have things about yourself, who you are and how your brain works that you don't entirely understand? To celebrate their 150th issue, the email version of The British Psychological Society's Research Digest asked 23 top psychologists to write 150 words on their nagging questions about themselves. From human consciousness, to death and forgiveness, to the dark Dalek-y corners of the mind, the answers are a great read--and an excellent place to jump into asking similar questions about ourselves.

I know. I know. That's awfully heavy for a Monday. So, for the excerpt here, we'll go with Richard Wiseman's answer, about the nature of humor:

I have no idea why I occasionally think funny things. For example, the other day I was watching the film "District 9", which is about an alien race known as "prawns", and thought "I wonder if the alien in charge is called a king prawn?". I would be the first to admit that it was not the world's greatest joke, but still, where did that moderately amusing idea come from? And why are some people so skilled at creating funny stuff, whilst others wouldn't recognise a proverbial custard pie, even if it hit them in the face? My guess is that the creation of comedy will remain a mystery for centuries, although at some point in the not too distant future, I suspect someone will carry out functional MRI scans of comedians creating jokes, and claim to have identified the part of the brain responsible for producing humour. Now, that will be funny.


    1. I find it very funny. So funny I laughed out loud at the last two sentences. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m a psychology PhD student working with a number of other students doing fMRI research. fMRI “breakthroughs” are some of the funniest research around.

      P.S. Maggie, I saw this the first time it was posted, and it is a great link. I forwarded it to my clinical psyc class. It’s nice to know that even the prominent psychologists are as stupid as me a lot of the time.

  1. For a rather depressing take on the concept of where humour comes from, try Asimov’s “Jokester”.

Comments are closed.