Humour, Art and the Brain
One-day Festival exploring Humour through Art and Science
Theatre Royal Winchester
30th October 2004
learn to laugh before we can speak. It is one of the earliest
and most profound of human responses to the world. Yet little is widely known about the act of
laughing, the neuroscience of humour, the origins of comedy or the cultural meaning of jokes. Not since 1976
has an event in the UK attempted to stage a conference-style festival on what exactly makes
the second Art and Mind event in Winchester, with the help
of psychologists, neuroscientists, sociologists and artists
(all chosen for their outstanding comedic performances)
together with an award-winning comedian, we will explore
the act of laughing and the role of the brain, humour across
cultures and through art, and analyse the power of the pun and the role of contemporary
humour. We end the day with an award winning show from the young British comedian Alex Horne,
hot from the Edinburgh Fringe, exploring humour through
a scientifically determined laughter scale.
promise a unique day of informed hilarity, exploring the
origins, culture and meaning of humour.
Art and Mind
(details may change)
The day’s events will be presented by comedian and writer
- Humour in Culturession One
- The Origins of Session One
- Why Humour?
Laughter before Language - a Universal Response?
Communicating Humour by Psychologist Prof Richard Wiseman
and artist Nicola Green
Plus: Creating a Comic - Richard Wiseman will introduce
the competition winner of the Unfunniest Person in Winchester.
By 7.45pm he will have trained him/her to become a perfect
comic. It’s all in the timing.
Did We Laugh to Survive? Do Animals Laugh?
Laughter and the Brain by neuroscientist Dr Harry Witchel
- Humour in Culture
2.00-2.45 Life’s a Laugh and Death’s a Joke - Aristotle to Monty
Toward an Aesthetic Theory of Humour by Psychologist and
Humour Consultant Dr Eduardo Jauregui
3.45-4.30 Humour as heresy - laughter as taboo
Ethnic humour by Sociologist Professor Christie Davies.
- Contemporary Humour
4.30-5.15 Do Androids Laugh? Is Humour Wired or Learned?
Humour and Artificial Intelligence by AI expert Dr Kim Binsted
Satire to Sitcom - What Makes Us Laugh Now?
Round table discussion with the day- presenters together
with John Lloyd (creator of Not the Nine O’clock News and
more), Chaired by Richard Wiseman. PLUS Q&A.
Creating a Comic - final performance by the Unfunniest Person
8.00-9.15 Making Fish Laugh
Comedy theatre based on the science of humour. By award-winning
Perrier-nominated young British comedian Alex Horne.