March 20, 2017
TO THE CONSERVATIVE LIFE IS A COMEDY...:
Two quantum physicists walk in and out of a bar ...: Can humour be reduced to a pure equation? And what do dead cats have to do with it? Cathal O'Connell, 3/2017, Cosmos)
In the new work, published in Frontiers in Physics, Australian physicist Kirsty Kitto and Canadian psychologist Liane Gabora have applied the mathematics of quantum theory to puns. [...]Consider: Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.Here, during the set-up, we interpret the situation one way, and once the punch line comes, there is a shift in our understanding (oh, the insect likes bananas). That gets the laugh.But scientists trying to express this cognitive processing in the form of an equation haven't got very far. Instead, the authors of the new work argue that it is not the shift of meaning, but rather our ability to perceive both meanings simultaneously, that makes a pun funny. That's where quantum theory comes in.One of the central phenomena in quantum theory is superposition -- where a particle can be in two states at once. That's what led the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger to come up with a scenario where a cat could be understood to be alive and dead at the same time.Schrödinger and his colleagues developed the maths to deal with these conundrums a century ago. Now, Kitto and Gabora have done the same for the pun."Funniness is not a pre-existing 'element of reality' that can be measured," says Gabora. "It emerges from an interaction between the underlying nature of the joke, the cognitive state of the listener, and other social and environmental factors. This makes the quantum formalism an excellent candidate for modelling humour."
...it's no coincidence that Creation is a comedy.
Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2017 5:12 AM