Search starts for the funny bone

September 7, 2001

Why did the psychologist cross the road? To start an investigation into the science of humour.

Richard Wiseman, senior lecturer in psychology at Hertfordshire University and reader in the public understanding of psychology, has teamed up with the British Association for the Advancement of Science for the year-long online experiment.

Laugh Lab, which was launched at the Festival of Science at Glasgow University this week, aims to find the United Kingdom's best-loved joke and work out its optimum timing.

The public can log on to the experiment's website to submit jokes, rank other people's submissions and answer questions designed to reveal whether men and women find different things funny, how our sense of humour changes as we get older and identify regional variations.

There will also be an attempt to check the links between humour and brain activity. The results will be announced during next year's Festival of Science at Leicester University.

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