An agreement has been made with Pyrrhic House for the publication of a series of
essays examining a range of subjects from a rationalist perspective, although no
date has yet been set. The intention is to continue the idea into a series featuring
contributions from other writers, with Alastair as the presiding editor.
Humour Between The Sexes
Leaving aside for this book the questions of why humans have a sense of humour and
how it works, Alastair examines instead what happens in practice. What is most likely
to make you laugh, and how do men and women differ in their responses?
According to the early drafts this book is going to prove more accessible to the
casual reader than the theories but also presents a fair amount of detailed research
about what people are finding funny at this point in time. Do men and women really
appreciate different forms of humour, or is it just a question of being interested
in different subjects? How do men and women react to attempted humour from each other
during social interaction, what do they say or do to make each other laugh the most,
and what are they doing wrong when it all falls flat?
Clarke’s two main books on humour examine the subject from contrary stances, one
suggesting that humour is a creative, adaptive faculty responsible for the ingenuity
of the human race, the other that it is instead a system for bolstering the brain’s
defences against misinformation that might otherwise harm the individual’s chances
of survival. Although the theories differ in many aspects, both propose that humour
has proven of vital importance in the unique intellectual development that sets the
species apart from all others.
Clarke’s pattern recognition theory of humour is included within the Encyclopedia
of Humor Studies (Sage 2014) edited by Salvatore Attardo. Authored by Clarke, the
entry presents the basic tenets of pattern recognition theory and how it contrasts
to his information normalization theory.