Women seem more likely than men to enjoy a good joke, mainly because they don't always expect it to be funny.
Women were subjecting humor to more analysis with the aim of determining if it was indeed funny, Reiss said in a telephone interview.
Men are using the same network in the brain, but less so, he said, men are less discriminating.
"It doesn't take a lot of analytical machinery to think someone getting poked in the eye is funny," he commented when asked about humor like the Three Stooges.
Yes, stereotype is the basis of all science -- er, humor.
The MRI data show that this is another nucleus accumbens story, in this case with connection to the left prefrontal cortex. So humor connects the rational headquarters of the brain with the dopamine-rich reward center. Stooge that!
Arnie Cann, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, commented: "Given the findings in the current study, that women appear to use more executive functions, it could be that they are more engaged in scrutinizing the humor to decide if it fits their views on what is acceptable humor. Once they decide the humor is OK, they could be experiencing a relief-like response."