A new study has found that women take longer to process and understand jokes but enjoy the punchline better than men do.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology, experts at Stanford University in California monitored 10 women and 10 men, while they were shown 70 black-and-white cartoons on a screen.
AdvertisementThe time the participants took in responding to a joke was recorded.
It was found that women displayed more intense activity than men in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which controls language interpretation and in-depth analytical processes.
However, they took slightly longer to react to jokes that were funny, but enjoyed the punchlines more.
"Our findings fit the stereotype of how men and women react to humour," Timesonline quoted professor Allan Reiss, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford, who led the study, as saying.
Reiss added: "We found greater activity in the prefrontal cortex in women, indicating women are processing stimuli that involve language areas of the brain. The interpretation of that finding is that women tend to respond more to word play and narrative than slapstick.
"The scans also indicate that women have a lower expectation that they will find jokes funny - but when they do, they experience a greater degree of reward.
"Men have the opposite response. They show more activation of nucleus accumbens [the part of the brain involved in reward and pleasure], indicating they expect to get the joke - but when they don't they get more depressed."
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