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SSS 2009-10-13

时间:2010-05-19 01:48来源:互联网 提供网友:mark@li   字体: [ ]
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Did you see The Simpsons episode where Homer makes a toast to alcohol?:

“To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

There are a few reasons why we might find this funny. First there’s the inherently ridiculous contradiction—the recognition of absurdity1 is often funny.

Or it might be the surprise factor: Homer using alcohol to toast…alcohol!

But another possibility is that it’s funny because it’s true.

And those who find it particularly funny might be those who’ve actually experienced both claims (booze wreaks2 havoc3 in their lives, but they also drink to ease their pain).

In fact much of what we find humorous can reveal our beliefs. Since laughter is typically an unconscious, automatic response it is a useful measure for laying bare individual biases4.

This month in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior Robert Lynch of Rutgers University published the first scientific evidence for the conventional folk wisdom: it’s funny because it’s true. But Lynch is not referring to objective truth, rather what we think is true.

Nearly 60 students were tested for their personal gender5 and racial biases, of which they might be quite unaware6.

Then they watched comedian7 Bill Burr do a 30-minute stand up. Lynch measured the amount of laughter as well as more subtle—and automatic—facial expressions.

Those who found Burr’s racially charged jokes most funny (one about Burr, who is white, being afraid in black neighborhoods) also had shown a significant preference for whites. And those who laughed most at Burr’s gender based jokes (one about how men should make more money than women) also preferred more traditional gender stereotypes8.

But Lynch notes that his findings are not about, “sexists like sexist jokes, and racists like racist9 jokes,” but rather the conclusions show that laughter often acts as a hard-to-fake signal of the somewhat unconscious beliefs we all hold, whatever those beliefs are.

So remember, something may indeed be funny because it’s true—about the way you think.  

—Christie Nicholson


 


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1 absurdity dIQyU     
n.荒谬,愚蠢;谬论
参考例句:
  • The proposal borders upon the absurdity.这提议近乎荒谬。
  • The absurdity of the situation made everyone laugh.情况的荒谬可笑使每个人都笑了。
2 wreaks 66a0f4cdf269e584feb6697be93e2753     
诉诸(武力),施行(暴力),发(脾气)( wreak的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
  • Worshipping the sun wreaks havoc on skin. So does smoking. 过度晒太阳会毁掉好皮肤,吸烟也是如此。
  • His hard work wreaks havoc in his personal life. 他拼命工作破坏了他的私人生活。
3 havoc 9eyxY     
n.大破坏,浩劫,大混乱,大杂乱
参考例句:
  • The earthquake wreaked havoc on the city.地震对这个城市造成了大破坏。
  • This concentration of airborne firepower wrought havoc with the enemy forces.这次机载火力的集中攻击给敌军造成很大破坏。
4 biases a1eb9034f18cae637caab5279cc70546     
偏见( bias的名词复数 ); 偏爱; 特殊能力; 斜纹
参考例句:
  • Stereotypes represent designer or researcher biases and assumptions, rather than factual data. 它代表设计师或者研究者的偏见和假设,而不是实际的数据。 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
  • The net effect of biases on international comparisons is easily summarized. 偏差对国际比较的基本影响容易概括。
5 gender slSyD     
n.(生理上的)性,(名词、代词等的)性
参考例句:
  • French differs from English in having gender for all nouns.法语不同于英语,所有的名词都有性。
  • Women are sometimes denied opportunities solely because of their gender.妇女有时仅仅因为性别而无法获得种种机会。
6 unaware Pl6w0     
a.不知道的,未意识到的
参考例句:
  • They were unaware that war was near. 他们不知道战争即将爆发。
  • I was unaware of the man's presence. 我没有察觉到那人在场。
7 comedian jWfyW     
n.喜剧演员;滑稽演员
参考例句:
  • The comedian tickled the crowd with his jokes.喜剧演员的笑话把人们逗乐了。
  • The comedian enjoyed great popularity during the 30's.那位喜剧演员在三十年代非常走红。
8 stereotypes 1ff39410e7d7a101c62ac42c17e0df24     
n.老套,模式化的见解,有老一套固定想法的人( stereotype的名词复数 )v.把…模式化,使成陈规( stereotype的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
  • Such jokes tend to reinforce racial stereotypes. 这样的笑话容易渲染种族偏见。
  • It makes me sick to read over such stereotypes devoid of content. 这种空洞无物的八股调,我看了就讨厌。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
9 racist GSRxZ     
n.种族主义者,种族主义分子
参考例句:
  • a series of racist attacks 一连串的种族袭击行为
  • His speech presented racist ideas under the guise of nationalism. 他的讲话以民族主义为幌子宣扬种族主义思想。
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