Neural correlates of hostile jokes: Cognitive and motivational processes in humor appreciation

Yu Chen Chan*, Yi Jun Liao, Cheng Hao Tu, Hsueh Chih Chen


研究成果: 雜誌貢獻期刊論文同行評審

7 引文 斯高帕斯(Scopus)


Hostile jokes (HJs) provide aggressive catharsis and a feeling of superiority. Behavioral research has found that HJs are perceived as funnier than non-hostile jokes (NJs). The purpose of the present study was to identify the neural correlates of the interaction between type and humor by comparing HJs, NJs, and their corresponding hostile sentences (HSs) and non-hostile sentences (NSs). HJs primarily showed activation in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and midbrain compared with the corresponding hostile baseline. Conversely, NJs primarily revealed activation in the ventromedial PFC (vmPFC), amygdala, midbrain, ventral anterior cingulate cortex, and nucleus accumbens (NAcc) compared with the corresponding non-hostile baseline. These results support the critical role of the medial PFC (mPFC) for the neural correlates of social cognition and socio-emotional processing in response to different types of jokes. Moreover, the processing of HJs showed increased activation in the dmPFC, which suggested cognitive operations of social motivation, whereas the processing of NJs displayed increased activation in the vmPFC, which suggested social-affective engagement. HJs versus NJs primarily showed increased activation in the dmPFC and midbrain, whereas NJs versus HJs primarily displayed greater activation in the amygdala and midbrain. The psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis demonstrated functional coupling of the dmPFC–dlPFC and midbrain–dmPFC for HJs and functional coupling of the vmPFC– midbrain and amygdala–midbrain–NAcc for NJs. Surprisingly, HJs were not perceived as funnier than NJs. Future studies could further investigate the neural correlates of potentially important traits of high-hostility tendencies in humor appreciation based on the psychoanalytic and superiority theories of humor.

期刊Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
出版狀態已發佈 - 2016 十月 28

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 神經心理學與生理心理學
  • 神經內科
  • 精神病學和心理健康
  • 生物精神病學
  • 行為神經科學


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