NCBI ROFL: And the award for craziest scientific figure goes to…

By ncbi rofl | September 19, 2012 7:00 pm

Figure 3.

Too Close for Comfort, or Too Far to Care? Finding Humor in Distant Tragedies and Close Mishaps

“Humor is ubiquitous and often beneficial, but the conditions that elicit it have been debated for millennia. We examine two factors that jointly influence perceptions of humor: the degree to which a stimulus is a violation (tragedy vs. mishap) and one’s perceived distance from the stimulus (far vs. close). Five studies show that tragedies (which feature severe violations) are more humorous when temporally, socially, hypothetically, or spatially distant, but that mishaps (which feature mild violations) are more humorous when psychologically close. Although prevailing theories of humor have difficulty explaining the interaction between severity and distance revealed in these studies, our results are consistent with the proposal that humor occurs when a violation simultaneously seems benign. This benign-violation account suggests that distance facilitates humor in the case of tragedies by reducing threat, but that closeness facilitates humor in the case of mishaps by maintaining some sense of threat.”

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing").Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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