Research Topic

Not Funny! A [Super] Serious Multidisciplinary Exploration of Humor Creativity

About this Research Topic

In common knowledge, creativity is generally associated with artistic expressions and the concept of talent, or a personality trait of a small set of individuals. However, in psychological research, creativity is defined as the capacity to produce novel and effective products. As such, creativity can be ...

In common knowledge, creativity is generally associated with artistic expressions and the concept of talent, or a personality trait of a small set of individuals. However, in psychological research, creativity is defined as the capacity to produce novel and effective products. As such, creativity can be conceived as an ability that is inherent to all human beings and an integral part of everyday activities, including work-related, artistic and scientific contexts. Thus, creativity entails the idea of innovation with respect to previous knowledge. However, innovation implies that, when needed, creativity pushes “thinking outside the box”, but the result of this process is not necessarily an artwork or an astonishing new vision of the world. It could rather be a solution to a problem, a new brand for a product, or simply a wisecrack.

Within this framework, humor has been proposed as a possible creative act, or a form of creativity, since it involves a rapid cognitive shift. The adoption of a new original point of view generates a reaction of surprise, similarly to the reaction that creativity may produce. In addition, both creativity and humor contradict conventional expectations and make connections between elements that are usually far and often unrelated. In psychological and neuroscientific research, this link is also supported by the presence of a humor score in many creativity tasks, which constitutes a “plus” point for the final record. Moreover, previous research already proposed a positive and reciprocal influence between the two constructs.

Further, it is important to highlight that humor is not just as a subcategory of creativity but should be viewed as an independent construct with its own distinctive features. In fact, one of its unique features relates specifically to an interpersonal perspective; as such, the intent of humor is not only to produce something original and to solve problems, but also to amuse people and to make them laugh.

Therefore, the aim of this Research Topic is to address the following question: What do creativity and humor have in common? What properties characterize and distinguish them? Is it possible to identify shared and specialized neural networks? What about hemispheric lateralization? What can we learn about creativity by studying humor? Is it possible to develop humor-based trainings to create more creative, flexible competences concerning the cognitive/social/psychological domains?

We aim to further our knowledge on creativity by gathering articles that investigate humorous thinking, attitude, expression and understanding. We welcome experimental papers that address both healthy and pathological conditions and cover the whole life span, from early to old age. Reviews and opinion papers are also welcome. The final goal is to create an interdisciplinary discussion on this topic by involving different areas, perspectives and methods. Scholars from different fields – including psychology, cognitive science, neurobiology, social sciences, education, arts and philosophy, are encouraged to contribute to this Research Topic.


Keywords: Humor, Creativity, Innovation, Neural networks, Humor-Based Training, Flexibility, Cognitive Shift


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2020 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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