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Sense of humor unique to humans?

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posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 11:10 AM
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Do any members know if our ability to laugh/find humor in situations/do things to create a comedic moment is unique to us?

We have all witnessed animals, pets in particular, enjoy interactions with humans and other animals (eg. playing fetch, playfully tussling with another animal), but do they possess anything akin to our smiles, laughter, and attempts to invoke laughter in others?

By way of a preposterous example:
Could a chimpanzee intentionally slew foot another chimpanzee and break out in his equivalent of laughter when his victim does a face plant as we might if we did the same thing?

When I see animals engaged it what appears to be 'fun' to them, for the most part it appears to be a practice sessions for skills that they might need if they are in the wild. For this reason I can't associate that with the same 'sense of humor' that we exhibit for gratuitous reasons.




posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 11:13 AM
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Sense of humor is too broad definition. Animals can laugh. They will not laugh at good joke though. Same with 3 years-old Human. So just as with intellect and emotions, animals have sense of humor too - not as developed though (or not as freakish
- depends on a perspective).



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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I remember a documentary of learning in primates - I believe it was about chimpansees. In a fragment highlighting the ability of primates to learn a language (words and sentences), they showed how the chimp could differentiate between for example 'put the ball on the hat' and 'put the hat on the ball' In this fragment, they also showed the chimp pulling a prank on the examinators, IIRC; the chimp had to hide an object in a specific place, but instead hid it somewhere else. It may have been somewhat different, but the bottom line: the chimp found it hilarious to be fooling the examinators. Counts as humor in my book ;]

I'll try to find the fragment (although there probably are a lot of documentaries on primates & learning) - my apologies for the incredibly vague description



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 11:30 AM
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Interesting thread there


I'm gonna have to think on this for a while now..
Is the question more 'do animals other than humans enjoy having fun and are aware of their fun?'
OR
'are animals capable of pulling pranks on one another and can derive a sense of satisfaction from that?'

Very intriguing.. I will say this though.. My cat does seem to have a very well developed sense of irony



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 11:36 AM
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My cat definetley gives off a look likes he's laughing or amused. But they can't laugh, so he looks funny lol. Strange I know.



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 11:55 AM
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reply to post by purehughness
 


My question leans more toward the idea of animals enjoying the humor in something and deliberately trying to create humor to gain an appropriate response. We do.

If animals are incapable of experiencing humor, then why are humans unique in that respect? Why do we possess this trait at all? Does it enable survival in any useful way?



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 11:59 AM
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Chimpanzees etc definetly have a sense of humour. I have two cats,used to own a dog and they didn't. That was more myself imposing what i thought they were doing as opposed to what they actually were. But yes, complex social groups such as humans,chimps,gorillas etc have their own unique version of comedy imo.



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 12:02 PM
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Laughter may be a humon attribute, but I know that my two gray cats have a sense of humor, without a doubt.



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by Solomons
Chimpanzees etc definetly have a sense of humour. I have two cats,used to own a dog and they didn't. That was more myself imposing what i thought they were doing as opposed to what they actually were. But yes, complex social groups such as humans,chimps,gorillas etc have their own unique version of comedy imo.


Actually I can see what you mean here..
I said that my cat has a great sense of irony, but am I really just anthropomorphising him, giving him human attribues, and projecting my own sense of humour upon him?

Because I've never seen him do anything purposefully to amuse himself. More maliciousness against the dog really!



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 12:56 PM
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I couldn't find the fragment of a primate pulling a prank, but I did find an online textbook with a chapter called "The Pervasiveness of Humor" and in it a section Are humans alone in the use of humor and joking? - it gives a nice overview for the state of affairs in the world of science 8 years ago (published 2001). Nothing too conclusive, obviously; science isn't quite there yet (although some scientists have made up their mind).

About why humor evolved anyway (yanked from the linked book):


Why should such a characteristic have evolved? [..] humor may be a "mechanism that substitutes for the primitive adrenergic response one [that is] more appropriate tot he sorts of stressors with which humans . . . have had to contend" [(Dixon,1980)]


In other words, Dixon's hypothesis states that humor proved to be a key factor in the relation between stress and survival. When the environment is too stressful to be handled normally, we need something to keep us on our feet, to keep from cowering and assuming fetal position.
It's ironic how we may have never been if we couldn't enjoy irony.



posted on Nov, 1 2009 @ 01:24 PM
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reply to post by GoneGrey
 


I once saw a group of monkeys laughing and playfighting, (i was high) one of the funniest things ive everseen, but i dont beleive that sense of humor is unique to us.




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