If you tell a woman a joke and get a blank look, don't immediately despair.
She's just taking her time to understand it.
But if the punchline does eventually make her laugh it will be worth the wait.
Scientists have found that while women are slower than men at getting jokes, they enjoy them more when the penny does drop.
Research shows that women use their brain more than men to process quips and have less expectation that they will be funny.
When a joke does hit the right note, however, they derive more pleasure from it.
Scientists asked ten men and ten women to look at dozens of black and white cartoons and rate them on a 'funniness scale'.
During the process they underwent sophisticated scans that mapped which parts of their brain were lighting up and timed how long it took them to respond to a joke.
Although the scans were largely similar, the women tended to use certain parts of their brain more than the men. These included the pre-frontal cortex, which helps us decode language and screen out irrelevancies.
Researcher Professor Allan Reiss said: "Our findings fit the stereotype of how men and women react to humour. We found greater activity in the pre-frontal cortex in women, indicating women are processing stimuli that involve language areas of the brain.
"The interpretation of that finding is that women tend to respond more to narrative and wordplay than slapstick."
Analysis of a 'feelgood' brain region called the nucleus accumbens also revealed that men and women have different attitudes to humour. Professor Reiss, of Stanford University in California, said: "Women appeared to have less expectation of a reward, which in this case was the punchline of the cartoon. So when they got the joke's punchline, they were more pleased about it."
The funnier the cartoon, the more the women's nucleus accumbens lit up. This was not the case for men, who seemed to expect the cartoons to be funny from the start.
The women took slightly longer than the men to react to jokes that were funny - but were quicker to spot duds.
2010-02-19 21:34 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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