A study from Northwestern University links humor to creative insight in problem solving. Humor may aid in problem solving by opening up minds to unlikely/unique/random solutions to puzzles.
quote from a researcher @ Northwestern University to the NYTimes:
“What we think is happening,” said Mark Beeman, a neuroscientist who conducted the study with Karuna Subramaniam, a graduate student, “is that the humor, this positive mood, is lowering the brain’s threshold for detecting weaker or more remote connections” to solve puzzles.
When this study is linked with previous research on the topic, the findings seem to suggest that positive moods are linked with creative problem solving.
quote from a researcher @ University of Toronto who worked on a related study:
“The implication is that positive mood engages this broad, diffuse attentional state that is both perceptual and visual,” said Dr. [Adam] Anderson. “You’re not only thinking more broadly, you’re literally seeing more. The two systems are working in parallel.”
Wanna be a test subject?
Test your insight with this NY Times puzzle solving quiz and see how you rank.