ERIC Number: EJ1107362
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
A Computational Model of Linguistic Humor in Puns
Kao, Justine T.; Levy, Roger; Goodman, Noah D.
Cognitive Science, v40 n5 p1270-1285 Jul 2016
Humor plays an essential role in human interactions. Precisely what makes something funny, however, remains elusive. While research on natural language understanding has made significant advancements in recent years, there has been little direct integration of humor research with computational models of language understanding. In this paper, we propose two information-theoretic measures--ambiguity and distinctiveness--derived from a simple model of sentence processing. We test these measures on a set of puns and regular sentences and show that they correlate significantly with human judgments of funniness. Moreover, within a set of puns, the distinctiveness measure distinguishes exceptionally funny puns from mediocre ones. Our work is the first, to our knowledge, to integrate a computational model of general language understanding and humor theory to quantitatively predict humor at a fine-grained level. We present it as an example of a framework for applying models of language processing to understand higher level linguistic and cognitive phenomena.
Descriptors: Humor, Language Usage, Sentences, Correlation, Theories, Cognitive Processes, Interaction, Mathematical Models
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: 0953870