Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What Is Funny?

According to the American Heritage dictionary, the definition of funny is "causing laughter or amusement."

Just the other day Chase was watching Dagney, our cat. Dagney stepped onto a piece of tape, which stuck to her paw. Dagney looked utterly dismayed. When she lifted her paw the piece of tape hung from it. Chase burst out laughing. She laughed and laughed.

I couldn't help but ask myself the question: How did she know it was funny?

In an attempt to answer this, we first have to answer the question: What is a sense of humor? The National Association of School Psychologists reports that there is actually a two-part answer. First, there is a mental ability to discover and appreciate events that are humorous. Second, situations that surprise have the potential to create laughter.

They go on to say that in terms of development, a caretaker's voice or tactile stimulation can cause a smile to occur from a fully alert baby at one month. Smiles associated with recognition of faces take place by the fourth month. "Peek-a-boo" should create laughter by the eighth month.

Parents who show silly behavior (e.g., pretending to drink from the baby bottle) can produce laughter by the first birthday. They indicate that a sense of humor begins to develop in the second year, when the child can engage in fantasy or make-believe behavior.

So my question remains. How did she know it was funny?

Special thanks to for facts above..

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