Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-9751
  • E-ISSN: 1877-976X
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This paper investigates how a mental-model theory of communication can explain differences in humorous texts and how aesthetic criteria to evaluate humour are dependent on the way mental models are exploited. Humour is defined as the deliberate manipulation by speakers of their private mental models of situations in order to create public mental models which contain one or more incongruities. Recipients can re-construct this manipulation process and thereby evaluate its nature and its quality. Humorous texts can be distinguished in terms of ownership of the manipulated mental model, the relationship between the speakers’ private and their public (humorous) mental model, as well as the speed required in the humorous mental model construction. Possible aesthetic criteria are the quality of the mental model manipulation, the pressure under which the humorously manipulated mental models have been constructed and the quality of the presentation of humorous mental models.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): aesthetic criterion; humour genre; mental model
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