“The writer E. B. White famously remarked that “analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies.” If that’s true, an amphibian genocide took place in San Antonio this past January. Academics from around the world gathered there for the first-ever comedy symposium cosponsored by the Mind Science Foundation.
The goal wasn’t to tell jokes but to assess exactly what a joke is, how it works, and what this thing called “funny” really is, in a neurological, sociological, and psychological sense. As Sean Guillory, a Dartmouth College neuroscience grad student who organized the event, says, “It’s the first time a roomful of empirical humor researchers have ever gotten together!””