DAN DENNETT

HEALTHY LIVING
When there is a well-defined, unambiguous hypothesis to test, an experiment can be very simple: find a clear counterexample. In the case of a theory of humor, find something that is funny but is not predicted to be funny by the hypothesis, or something the hypothesis says should be funny that isn't.
TED WEEKENDS
In my research, I have spent some time recording how some of us, nearly two-thirds of us humans will pinch, squeeze, and sometimes even bite cute little creatures. For the most part these reactions are playful. They appear to be specific to cuteness. They appear to span the globe.
TED WEEKENDS
Why else would we find things funny and laugh about them -- pretty unusual activities, when you think about it -- unless doing so helped us survive as a species?
TED WEEKENDS
What's chic, what's in and what's out, should be predicted by evolutionary theory. Otherwise it will be judged by history as just a passing phase. Eventually as outmoded as shoulder pads from the 1980s.