Henri de Jongste
[Topics in Humor Research 9] 2020
► pp. 167–196
Chapter 8. Playing with presenting public mental models
In this chapter, we will analyse a number of examples in which the collective senders create humour through having the characters present an inadequate or ineffective public mental model. The problematic nature of the model typically manifests itself in a breakdown of the communication. Most of these cases concern characters in a telic meta-motivational state. Any problems in the presentation of mental models must in such cases be assumed to be either unintended, or to result from a wilful lack of helpfulness and to contain an element of conflict. When the characters are in a para-telic meta-motivational state, the characters are themselves in a playful mood and they challenge each other by presenting humorously manipulated mental models. This allows the collective senders to create meta-humour by showing how the comic characters under-perform in the delivery of these public mental models and do not get the responses they are expecting. The talking heads are a special case of public mental-model presentation. Here the lack of response is inherent in the format, and it is the TV viewers themselves who need to respond to the inappropriateness or ineffectiveness of the public mental models presented. In the following sections, we will first look at diminishments in the presentations of public mental models in a telic state. After that, we will have a look at the diminishments in the characters’ role performances in a para-telic state.