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Cognitive Architecture, Humor and Counterintuitiveness: Retention and Recall of MCIs

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The recent surge of interest in the cognitive science of religion has resulted in a number of studies regarding the memorability of minimally counterintuitive ideas (MCIs). The present model incorporates ontological templates and their respective inferences, as well as delineates between two major types of violations: schema- and template-level violations. As humor is also defined by its counter-intutiveness at the schema level, this study was designed to find effects this emotion has on retention. Results suggest that humorous statements with parallel violations are recalled significantly better than statements which have only template-level violations, affective statements with only schema-level violations, as well as intuitive statements in both immediate and 1-week follow-up sessions.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, 354 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269-2176, USA;, Email:


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