Jokes activates same brain region as cocaine
- Jokes activates same brain region as cocaine
Humour tickles drug centre that gives hedonistic high
There's truth in the maxim 'laughter is a drug'. A comic cartoon fired up
the same brain centre as a shot of cocaine, researchers are reporting.
A team at Stanford University in California asked lab mates, spouses and
friends to select the wittiest newspaper cartoons from a portfolio. They
showed the winning array to 16 volunteers while peering inside their heads
by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
The cartoons activated the same reward circuits in the brain that are
tickled by cocaine, money or a pretty face, the neuroscientists found1. One
brain region in particular, the nucleus accumbens, lit up seconds after a
rib-tickler but remained listless after a lacklustre cartoon.
© Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2003