Publication details [#1361]

Kao, Justine T., Roger Levy and Noah D. Goodman. 2013. The Funny Thing About Incongruity: A Computational Model of Humor in Puns. Cognitive Science Proceedings.
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This paper investigates what makes something funny. Incongruity (that is perceiving a situation from different viewpoints and finding the resulting interpretations to be incompatible) seems to contribute to sensations of mirth. In this paper, a computational model of sentence comprehension is used to formalize incongruity and test its relationship to humor in puns. By combining a noisy channel model of language comprehension and standard information theoretic measures, the researchers identify two dimensions of incongruity-ambiguity of meaning and distinctiveness of viewpoints-and use them to predict humans' judgments of funniness. Results show that both ambiguity and distinctiveness are significant predictors of humor.