A New Association Evaluation Stage in Cartoon Apprehension: Evidence from an ERP Study


The aim of this study was to investigate the temporal cortical activation patterns underlying different stages of humor comprehension (e.g., detection of incongruity stage, resolution of incongruity stage, and affective stage). Event-related potentials (ERPs) were measured when 16 subjects were apprehending cartoon pictures including humorous, non-humorous and unrelated items. Results showed that both humorous and unrelated items elicited a more negative ERP deflection (N500-800) than non-humorous ones between 500 - 800 ms, which might reflect detection to incongruent element during humor apprehension. Then, both humorous and non-humorous items elicited a more positive ERP deflection (P800-1000) than unrelated ones between 800 - 1000 ms, which might reflect a classification process preliminarily evaluating whether there were attainable cues in the pictures used to form possible association between context and picture (we named it “association evaluation” stage). Furthermore, humorous items elicited a more positive slow wave than non-humorous items which also elicited a more positive wave than unrelated items between 1000 - 1600 ms, during which this component might be involved in the forming of novel associations (resolution of incongruity). Lastly, between 1600 - 2000 ms, humorous items elicited a more positive ERP deflection (P1600-2000) than both non-humorous and unrelated items, which might be related to emotion processing during humor apprehension. Based on these results, we deeply subdivided the second stage (resolution of incongruity) into two stages: association evaluation and incongruity resolution.

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S. Tu, X. Cao, X. Yun, K. Wang, G. Zhao and J. Qiu, "A New Association Evaluation Stage in Cartoon Apprehension: Evidence from an ERP Study," Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 4 No. 2, 2014, pp. 75-83. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2014.42010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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