NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 1:03 PM
Science is finally catching on to something comedians have long known: Some works are just freakin’ funny.
Pickle? Funny. Carrot? Not so much.
University of Alberta psych professor Chris Westbury figured this out during an otherwise dry study of aphasia, a speech and language disorder. As part of the research, he showed people words, some real, some fake.
University of Alberta psychology professor Chris Westbury has developed a mathematical method of measuring whether a word will make you laugh.
Each time “snunkoople” popped up, test subjects just cracked up. In the end, Westbury found wacky letter combos are more likely to make people laugh.
It’s all because of a word’s “entropy” — a measure of how predictable it is. Dr. Seuss knew it all along.
“It essentially comes down to the probability of the individual letters,” Westbury said. “So if you look at a Seuss word like ‘yuzz-a-ma-tuzz’ and calculate its entropy, you would find it is a low-entropy word because it has improbable letters like Z.”
Westbury calls his study “the first paper that’s ever had a quantifiable theory of humor” — but then what else would you expect the world’s leading snunkoopologist to say?