humour

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
Henry Youngman


Alcohol services have become a hot topic within the NHS, partly because of the astronomical amount of money the government is forced to spend to deal with issues arising from...

Science, we all know, is serious stuff. If it is to retain its cultural and cognitive authority, it must be seen as an objective, dispassionate and value-free enterprise. But science, at its core, is a human enterprise populated by all types of people. Some, to be sure, are...

I’m about to do something that would terrify most people. I’m leaning with my back to the bar, guitar in hand, waiting as a compere warms up an audience in a central London comedy club. The punters have paid, bought themselves a drink, and now want to laugh. Once he’s...

'It’s not just about telling jokes to feel better'

Ian Florance talks to Stephanie Davies.

It’s half term in the Royal Festival Hall bar on the South Bank in London. Hundreds of children dance to a trad jazz version of ‘Old Macdonald...

In retrospect, as with many of the best parties over the years, it appears that I arrived in Cognitive Psychology just as most everybody else was leaving. Even as I was unpacking my computational modeller’s box of tricks, many of my colleagues were busy packing their more...

Richard Herring has spent a lifetime creating and performing comedy. After graduating from Oxford University he teamed up with fellow comedian Stewart Lee to co-write several critically acclaimed shows, including Fist of Fun, Lee and Herring and This Morning With Richard Not...

Human vocal emotional expression includes both emotionally inflected speech, and non-verbal emotional vocalisations, like a scream or a sob. These non-verbal vocalisations are intriguing as they are unlike speech in terms of the ways they are produced, with little or no...

It can be tempting to assume that ‘improbable’ implies more than that – implies bad or good, worthless or valuable, trivial or important. Something improbable can be any of those, or none of them, or all of them, in different ways. Something can be bad in some respects and...

A joke shared can unite a room of strangers. Successful comics can entrance an entire stadium: a sea of faces revelling in the ecstasy of a mind tickle. What’s going on? Deconstructing humour is like explaining a joke; for an experience that has such an inscrutable,...

One person who inspired you
Worryingly, Susan Greenfield. I first got into neuroscience after reading one of her books. Given what she gets up to these days, I imagine this is what die-hard Star Wars fans felt like when watching The Phantom Menace....