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From "Aha!" to "Haha!" Using Humor to Cope with Negative Stimuli
Wu, Xiaofei1,2; Guo, Tingting3; Zhang, Chao4; Hong, Tzu-Yi5,6; Cheng, Chou-Ming5,6; Wei, Ping1; Hsieh, Jen-Chuen5,6; Luo, Jing1,7
First AuthorWu, Xiaofei
Correspondent (jing luo) ; (jen-chuen hsieh)
Contribution Rank3

Humor has been considered an effective emotion regulation strategy, and some behavioral studies have examined its superior effects on negative emotion regulation. However, its neural mechanisms remain unknown. Our functional magnetic resonance imaging study directly compared the emotion regulation effects and neural bases of humorous coping (reappraisal) and ordinary reappraisal following exposure to negative pictures. The behavioral results suggested that humorous reappraisal was more effective in downregulating negative emotions and upregulating positive emotions both in the short and long term. We also found 2 cooperative neural pathways involved in coping with negative stimuli by means of humor: the "hippocampal-thalamic-frontal pathway" and the "amygdala-cerebellar pathway." The former is associated with the restructuring of mental representations of negative situations and accompanied by an insightful ("Aha!") experience, while the latter is associated with humorous emotional release and accompanied by an expression of laughter ("Haha!"). Furthermore, the degree of hippocampal functional connectivity with both the thalamus and frontal cortex was positively correlated with changes in positive emotion, and this result implied that the degree of emotion regulation could be strongly directly related to the depth of cognitive reconstruction. These findings highlight that regulating negative emotions with humor involves cognitive restructuring and the release of positive emotions.

Keywordamygdala cognitive restructuring emotional release hippocampus humor
Source PublicationCEREBRAL CORTEX
Indexed BySCI
Funding ProjectNational Natural Science Foundation of China[31871093] ; National Natural Science Foundation of China[31671124] ; National Natural Science Foundation of China[31271079] ; Capacity Building for Sci-Tech Innovation Fundamental Scientific Research Funds[025-185305000] ; Capacity Building for Sci-Tech Innovation Fundamental Scientific Research Funds[131-20530290058] ; Beijing Brain Initiative of Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission
WOS Research AreaNeurosciences & Neurology
WOS SubjectNeurosciences
WOS IDWOS:000637029100026
Citation statistics
Document Type期刊论文
Corresponding AuthorHsieh, Jen-Chuen; Luo, Jing
Affiliation1.Capital Normal Univ, Sch Psychol, Beijing Key Lab Learning & Cognit, Beijing 100048, Peoples R China
2.Hangzhou Normal Univ, Dept Psychol, Hangzhou 311121, Peoples R China
3.Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Psychol, Key Lab Mental Hlth, Beijing 100101, Peoples R China
4.Shanxi Normal Univ, Sch Educ Sci, Dept Psychol, Linfen 041004, Shanxi, Peoples R China
5.Yang Ming Univ, Brain Res Ctr, Sch Med, Inst Brain Sci, Taipei 11267, Taiwan
6.Taipei Vet Gen Hosp, Dept Med Res, Div Clin Res, Integrated Brain Res Unit, Taipei 11267, Taiwan
7.Shaoxing Univ, Dept Psychol, Shaoxing 312000, Peoples R China
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Wu, Xiaofei,Guo, Tingting,Zhang, Chao,et al. From "Aha!" to "Haha!" Using Humor to Cope with Negative Stimuli[J]. CEREBRAL CORTEX,2021,31(4):2238-2250.
APA Wu, Xiaofei.,Guo, Tingting.,Zhang, Chao.,Hong, Tzu-Yi.,Cheng, Chou-Ming.,...&Luo, Jing.(2021).From "Aha!" to "Haha!" Using Humor to Cope with Negative Stimuli.CEREBRAL CORTEX,31(4),2238-2250.
MLA Wu, Xiaofei,et al."From "Aha!" to "Haha!" Using Humor to Cope with Negative Stimuli".CEREBRAL CORTEX 31.4(2021):2238-2250.
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