Have you ever wondered why some words can make you snort milk through your nose or why do kids love to run around others?
A couple of researchers in the University of Alberta say they have analyzed what to do some words are extremely funny.
"Nobody has done a good job in predicting humor in advance," said Chris Westbury, a University of Alberta psychologist. "One of the reasons is that they have not been prepared to go low enough."
Westbury is a recently published paper co-author of the "Wriggly, Squiffy, Lummox, and Boobs: What Make Some Words Happen" in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. It may be that his research is the first to break down what makes us break down.
Like all the great science, it's built on previous research.
Under the previous federal government, Westbury said that drought funding in science leaves him free to do something wacky.
"I thought people would think I was wasting their money if I did this at their fun."
He had noticed that people often laughed on non-sound words, so he looked for patterns. Garbal as "snunkoople", for example, was more suited to taking a smile or something like an "x-attack".
"We could make a surprise to predict what words people find funny," said Westbury.
On the strength of that research, British paper was sent to review the statistical analysis used to list the incredible list of almost 5,000 words. Stunning stuff, Westbury thought, but why were those words funny?
Some of the best thoughts of western civilization have asked the same question.
Plato and Aristotle, Westbury write, argue that humor is flawed and every joke has a gig. Roman speaker, Cicero, said that laughing lies in inconsistency – for example, the honeycomb gift.
We study the things that matter to us. & # 39;
The 27-page paper Westerbury presents a literature review of 2,500 philosophical attempts to get the joke. Perhaps this is the only academic paper that sets out the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, author of the book Fear and Excitement, and Broadway dramatist, Neil Simon, who gave us The Odd Couple.
But no one has succeeded, Westbury is still.
"That one of those theories are not real theories. They are explanations."
He was about to be able to predict what people would find funny. To do that, he and his colleague Geoff Hollis decided to focus on the most basic type of humor.
"Single words? That's not really funny, but although that's not funny, it's really complicated."
Single words? That's not really funny, but although that's not funny, it's really complicated-Chrys Westbury, researcher
What makes a word funny, discovered, is a combination of two factors – sound and meaning.
Using a sophisticated 3 billion word-rich statistical analysis on Google, words that are likely to have a laugh tend to be related to sex, physical functions, good times, animals and insult.
But that's not enough. They also have to sound funny too.
If they have the "oo" sound, found in 17.4 percent of the words that are funny, it's good. So "kay" is hard or celebrating a "place." Double letters are also funny.
Westbury confirmed his findings by using them to predict how funny people would have a specific word.
"I was surprised how well we were able to predict a view."
Interestingly, there was no difference between age and sex in what people are getting bad. Culture, however, did.
"I have an Iranian degree student, who did not really find the words that found funny to be funny.
"She said," I feel these are a little incredible. "I said, sorry, that's the culture you're in now. & # 39; "
Westbury knows that her analysis does not say a bit about irony, insult, or more sophisticated. But he said that any light shed on laughter shook light on what it meant to be human.
Confidence can even have an evolutionary value. Westbury said some scientists felt that the endorphin supper that was good laughing was a reward for thinking out of the box and being creative.
"We are studying things that matter to us."
The most common 10 words in English from a sample of almost 45,000?
Upchuck, bubby, boff, wriggly, hyps, giggle, cooch, guffaw, puffball and jiggly.