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Glasgow 2001 Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 23:25 GMT 00:25 UK
Search for world's funniest joke
Joke PA
Why did the chicken cross the road?
The search to find the world's funniest joke has been launched by a British scientist.

The huge internet experiment aims to collect tens of thousands of jokes which will be assessed according to how funny they are.

By logging onto www.laughlab.co.uk, people will be able to submit their favourite joke, and rate those already on the site, using something called a laughometer.

"It is an attempt to delve into the psychology of humour," Dr Richard Wiseman told the British Association Festival of Science in Glasgow.

"Are there certain types of joke being submitted by a certain country, and are there some which are found funny across the world - a kind of universal joke?"

Brain scans

Dr Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, is researching how humour differs between nationalities, sexes and age groups.

Once the funniest jokes have been chosen, the scientists will read them aloud to a group of people and see how their brain activity changes using MRI scans.

Sample jokes
What kind of murderer has fibre? A serial killer
What sort of pig should you avoid at a party? A wild boar
Previous research suggests that the front right lobe of the brain - the part involved in complex thinking processes - is the seat of laughter.

Dr Wiseman believes the experiment could reveal insights into the psychology of humour and which parts of the brain are involved.

However the experiment has its limits: all jokes will be censored, and no rude or offensive ones will be displayed on the site.


Talking PointTALKING POINT
It's no joke
What is the world's funniest gag?

British Association Festival of Science in Glasgow
Direct from Glasgow

See also:

29 Mar 01 | UK
10 Sep 00 | Festival of science
Links to more Glasgow 2001 stories are at the foot of the page.


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