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Study Up For 'Think': A Look At Laughter

We know that something funny lends to laughter. But what initially makes something funny?

To guffaw, to chuckle, to giggle—laughter, regardless of how we do it, is a form of expression everyone experiences. But why do we do it? Today at 1 p.m. on Think, we will speak to Peter McGraw about his quest for the answer in "The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny."

McGraw also explores the concept of comedy as a director of the Humor Research Lab (HuRL) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Alongside Caleb Warren, McGraw created the Benign Violation Theory, which states that a situation is funny if it is a harmless violation.

Another circulating theory about why we laugh is the Incongruity Theory, which says humor exists when a situation strays from normalcy.

How Stuff Work provides further explanation of various theories and scientific findings concerning what makes us laugh. 

Locale also plays a part in how funny a situation can be, McGraw said. With an algorithm fashioned at the HuRL, McGraw and his colleagues found the top 10 funniest cities in the United States.

To continue preparing for the conversation today, you can read the first chapter of "The Humor Code" online.