Monday, 23 Mar, 2009 Science

Scientists Explain Why It Is Easier to Remember Bad Jokes


Researchers managed to explain why we are more likely to remember bad jokes, while the good ones are usually not stored in our memory. A new research states that the best jokes subvert common thought patters, which makes these jokes funnier but at the same time harder to remember.

We usually remember the final part of a joke, the punchline. At the same time we don't keep in mind the run-up to the gag. The bad jokes, on the other hand, are so predictable that they're easy to remember.

Professor of psychology Robert Provine, working at Maryland University, is currently writing a book on laughter. He noted that a successful joke is always hard to remember.

"The punch line involves an unexpected turn. If someone tells you a list of flowers, like roses, daffodils, petunias and brick. That was unexpected and funny. You remember 'brick', but not probably the correct list of flowers," he said.

The professor considers that funny jokes work the reverse way to a poem or song, which has rhyme and rhythm.

Daniel Schacter, professor of psychology at Harvard University believes that in most cases good jokes are based on slight nuances and timings, which are often difficult to recall. It is worth mentioning that Prof. Schacter is the author of a book entitled "The Seven Sins of Memory".

Below you'll find a few examples of bad jokes:

- How do French poodles greet each other? Bone-jour.

- How do you catch a squirrel? Climb in a tree and act like a nut.

- What did the snowman say to the other snowman? "Do you smell carrot?"

You will probably laugh at and forget the following jokes:

Son: Dad, what is an idiot?

Dad: An idiot is a person who tries to explain his ideas in such a strange and long way that another person who is listening to him can't understand him. Do you understand me?

Son: No.

Teacher: "Nick, what is the past participle of the verb to ring?"

Nick: "What do you think it is, Sir?"

Teacher: "I don't think, I KNOW!"

Nick: "I don't think I know either, Sir!"

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