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Thread: Why do we enjoy humor and music?

  1. #1 Why do we enjoy humor and music? 
    Forum Freshman
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    While most of all the other emotions have an evolutionary reason to be there, I don't see why do we like humor and music. Why are those feelings there? I'm not asking anyone "why do you like music", it's obvious that everyone likes music because of its melody/rhythm. My question is a purely scientifical one - why do some combinations of tones sound good?

    Also, if someone happens to know that: can psychopaths (I'm talking about the medical condition) enjoy music/humor?

    P.S. Also, hello everyone.


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  3. #2  
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    Interesting question, i don't know the answer though.

    Music is thought to have evolutionary purpose as a prototype communication system. The part of the brain dealing with language is in the left hemisphere while music is on the opposite side.

    Humour is also said to be from the right hemisphere, but i don't know of any evolutionary mechanism.

    I would've thought a psychopath could enjoy music and humour, their pathology is in the frontal lobes, away from the music and humour regions. But that's just an assumption. Could just ask one.

    Sorry can't be more helpful; and hi.


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  4. #3  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Humor has a larger impact when you think about it's impact on belonging to a group. You don't always have to be the biggest and strongest if you can ease tensions at the right time with a joke or help your fellow tribe/pack members enjoy your company. Humor allows you to achieve many things which previously muscles and raw aggression did.

    It's selected for because it helps you to be a welcome member of the troop, and helps you escape danger.


    Music, to my knowledge, is more about rhythm and movement. Our heartbeat is a rhythm, the tides in the oceans are a thyme, the sun rising and setting is a rhyme, the sound of the bugs in the forest or the earths voyage around the sun are all rhythms... Life which understood these rhythms could use them to their advantage... finding a hiding place before nightfall (b/c you knew by the rhythm that dusk would soon settle)... finding and storing food before winter...

    I think music is definitely tied to communication as mentioned above, but I also think it's root goes far deeper than that. (I'd also venture to guess that which tones "sound good" is a combination of the way the waves come together in the vibrating media with what we've learned through growing up).


    EDIT: And yes, a psychopath can enjoy music. They are described as such due to the way they interact with others socially, not because they are immune to joy and experience through sound.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy
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  5. #4  
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    What is laughter (and humor)?

    Hardly anything is deemed to be more parochial and ephemeral than laughter. Or more lowly, for, during much of human history, the comical has been a mix of lewdness, aggression, and mockery.

    It begets a peculiar panting and chest-heaving behavior, traditionally viewed as a “luxury reflex” serving no purpose. However, could it be that it derived from the “false alarm”? A seemingly threatening situation presents itself; you go into the “flight or fight” response; however, the threat proves spurious, so you alert your social group to the absence of real danger by emitting the vocalization of laughter, one that, as it passes, is amplified, contagiously, from member to member.

    The mechanism was then hijacked for other purposes such as hostility or showing superiority. Still, at the heart of laughter lies incongruity, such as a grave threat revealing itself to be trivial. It has become a kind of intellectual emotion, every joke being an interrupted syllogism, for example, “The important things is sincerity. If you can fake it, you’ve got it made”.

    The odd and incomprehensible suddenly turns into nothing.
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