Allan L. Reiss

Publication Details

  • Sex differences in brain activation elicited by humor PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Azim, E., Mobbs, D., Jo, B., Menon, V., Reiss, A. L. 2005; 102 (45): 16496-16501


    With recent investigation beginning to reveal the cortical and subcortical neuroanatomical correlates of humor appreciation, the present event-related functional MRI (fMRI) study was designed to elucidate sex-specific recruitment of these humor related networks. Twenty healthy subjects (10 females) underwent fMRI scanning while subjectively rating 70 verbal and nonverbal achromatic cartoons as funny or unfunny. Data were analyzed by comparing blood oxygenation-level-dependent signal activation during funny and unfunny stimuli. Males and females share an extensive humor-response strategy as indicated by recruitment of similar brain regions: both activate the temporal-occipital junction and temporal pole, structures implicated in semantic knowledge and juxtaposition, and the inferior frontal gyrus, likely to be involved in language processing. Females, however, activate the left prefrontal cortex more than males, suggesting a greater degree of executive processing and language-based decoding. Females also exhibit greater activation of mesolimbic regions, including the nucleus accumbens, implying greater reward network response and possibly less reward expectation. These results indicate sex-specific differences in neural response to humor with implications for sex-based disparities in the integration of cognition and emotion.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0408456102

    View details for Web of Science ID 000233283700066

    View details for PubMedID 16275931

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