Cognitive Theories Of Humor

= incongruity-resolution theories. The cognitive theories of humor are characterized, generally, by a two-stage process: the perception of some complexity, incongruity, discrepancy, ambiguity, or novelty in the humor stimulus; and the resolution of the discrepancy in the stimulus via cognitive integration or understanding. According to such a cognitive approach to humor analysis and theorizing, humor implicitly is a process that involves the interaction between the recipient and some structural aspect of the stimulus, and that a joke, cartoon, or riddle, for example, may be understood and appreciated by assimilation of the humor stimulus into the individual's existing cognitive structures or framework. Thus, the pleasure one derives from joke-humor comes from the unexpected cognitive resolution of a series of paradoxes climaxed by the "punch line" of the joke. Also, an important ingredient in humor appreciation, according to the cognitive theories, is the degree to which the humor stimulus makes a cognitive demand on the individual. See also HUMOR, THEORIES OF; INCONGRUITY AND INCONSISTENCY THEORIES OF HUMOR; LATTA'S COGNITIVE-SHIFT THEORY OF HUMOR.

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