Segregating the comprehension and elaboration processing of verbal jokes: An fMRI study

Yu Chen Chan, Tai Li Chou, Hsueh Chih Chen*, Keng Chen Liang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


The comprehension-elaboration theory of humor claims that the elicitation of humor can be segregated into two stages, comprehension and elaboration. Comprehension includes detection and resolution of incongruity, and elaboration involves inducement of the experience of amusement. Previous imaging research has sought to identify the neural substrates of humor processing by comparing funny and unfunny conditions. However, such studies have not been able to segregate the comprehension and elaboration stages. The present study was designed to differentiate the respective brain areas corresponding to comprehension and elaboration with an additional condition, garden path sentences. The results suggest that the bilateral inferior frontal gyri and left superior frontal gyrus may be associated with humor comprehension, whereas the cortical region in left ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the subcortical regions in bilateral amygdalae and bilateral parahippocampal gyri may be responsible for the feeling of amusement during the elaboration process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-906
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul 16


  • Comprehension
  • Elaboration
  • FMRI
  • Garden path sentence
  • Humor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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