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Part road-trip comedy and part social science experiment, a scientist and a journalist "shed fascinating light on what makes us laugh and why" (New York Post) .Two guys. Nineteen experiments. Five continents. 91,000 miles. The Humor Code follows the madcap adventures and oddball experiments of Professor Peter McGraw and writer Joel Warner as they discover the secret behind what makes things funny. In their search, they interview countless comics, from Doug Stanhope to Louis CK and travel across the globe from Norway to New York, from Palestine to the Amazon. It's an epic quest, both brainy and harebrained, that culminates at the world's largest comedy festival where the pair put their hard-earned knowledge to the test. For the first time, they have established a comprehensive theory that answers the question "what makes things funny?" Based on original research from the Humor Research Lab (HuRL) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the pair's experiences across the globe, The Humor Code explains the secret behind winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, why some dead baby jokes are funnier than others, and whether laughter really is the best medicine.

About the Author

Peter McGraw

Dr. Peter McGraw, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, is an expert in the interdisciplinary fields of emotion and behavioral decision theory. His research examines the interrelationship of judgment, emotion, and choice, with a focus on consumer behavior and public policy -- ranging from how the government is botching anti-terror policy to why couples overspend on their nuptials.

And now, with his attention directed towards the question of what makes things funny, he is becoming a leading force in moving the study of humor from the niche to the mainstream. The advantage that McGraw has over his predecessors is his ability to conduct state-of-the-art experiments with the help of the team he directs at the Humor Research Lab (HuRL) , a laboratory dedicated to the experimental study of humor, its antecedents and consequences. His work prompted Wired magazine to dedicate its May 2011 issue to comedy.

McGraw holds appointments in marketing at the Leeds School of Business and in social psychology in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. He received a B.A. in psychology and M.Ed. in educational psychology from Rutgers University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in quantitative psychology from The Ohio State University. His post-doctoral training was conducted at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He also co-directs the Moral Research Lab (MoRL) .

McGraw is willing to leave the ivory tower to delve more deeply into research questions - whether trying his hand at stand-up at a dive bar, attending a funeral director convention, posing as a shopper at a gun show, or singing hymns at a Fundamentalist Baptist church. He blogs regularly about the policy and consumer implications of judgment, emotion, and choice research. His work has been covered by the BBC, MSNBC, Scientific American, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times. Most recently, McGraw made the 2013 Stylish Scientist List - probably because he likes to rock a sweater vest.

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