JAN 08, 2021 3:45 PM PST

Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular among younger generations. But why? Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University may have an answer. In new research, they found that delivering news in a humorous way makes it both more memorable and shareable. 

For the study, the researchers recruited young adults aged between 18 and 34. Each was asked to watch a variety of news clips- some humorous and some not- while being monitored by an fMRI scanner. Afterward, participants partook in a memory test to uncover how much information they remembered from the clips, and were asked to report how likely they were to share the clips with other people. 

All in all, the researchers found that more humorous news clips tended to produce more activity in areas of the brain linked to social engagement. They also found that participants were more likely to remember information from the news clips presented in a humorous way and that they were then more willing to share information from these with others.

“Our findings show that humor stimulates activity in brain regions associated with social engagement, improves memory for political facts, and increases the tendency to share political information with others,” says Jason Coronel, lead author of the paper. 

“This is significant because entertainment-based media has become an important source of political news, especially for young adults. Our results suggest that humor can increase knowledge about politics.”

Senior author of the paper Emily Falk says, "For democracy to work, it is really important for people to engage with news and politics and to be informed about public affairs." As such, these results may have implications for how outlets choose to communicate with their audience- especially those who are younger. 

 

Sources: Neuroscience NewsJournal of Communication

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
OCT 25, 2021
Health & Medicine
Recognizing Dementia as a Risk Factor for COVID-19
OCT 25, 2021
Recognizing Dementia as a Risk Factor for COVID-19
Dementia is a cluster of neurological symptoms characterized by an impaired ability to remember, make decisions, and per ...
NOV 08, 2021
Plants & Animals
People Taste Things Differently, Depending on their Diet
NOV 08, 2021
People Taste Things Differently, Depending on their Diet
Taste is a fundamental factor when it comes to choosing what foods we eat, and which we avoid. We all remember as kids, ...
DEC 01, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Researchers Use Ultrasound to Remove Diseased Brain Cells
DEC 01, 2021
Researchers Use Ultrasound to Remove Diseased Brain Cells
Researchers have developed a noninvasive method to remove faulty brain circuits using ultrasound and microbubbles. The c ...
DEC 28, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Why People With Asthma Don't Get Brain Tumors
DEC 28, 2021
Why People With Asthma Don't Get Brain Tumors
Scientists have come forward with data to explain a puzzling clinical phenomenon—people with asthma have a reduced ...
DEC 30, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Researchers Discover Immune Cell Subtype Linked to MS and Neuroinflammation
DEC 30, 2021
Researchers Discover Immune Cell Subtype Linked to MS and Neuroinflammation
We still don't know exactly what causes multiple sclerosis (MS), or many other disorders that involve inflammation in th ...
JAN 05, 2022
Technology
A Digital Therapeutic for IBS Pain Management?
JAN 05, 2022
A Digital Therapeutic for IBS Pain Management?
Digital therapeutics (DTx) continue to rise in prevalence and scientific efficacy. While technology is nothing new in he ...
Loading Comments...