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Cerebellum. 2013 Dec;12(6):802-11. doi: 10.1007/s12311-013-0488-5.

Humor, laughter, and the cerebellum: insights from patients with acute cerebellar stroke.

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Department of Neurology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstr. 55, 45122, Essen, Germany,


Extent of cerebellar involvement in cognition and emotion is still a topic of ongoing research. In particular, the cerebellar role in humor processing and control of laughter is not well known. A hypermetric dysregulation of affective behavior has been assumed in cerebellar damage. Thus, we aimed at investigating humor comprehension and appreciation as well as the expression of laughter in 21 patients in the acute or subacute state after stroke restricted to the cerebellum, and in the same number of matched healthy control subjects. Patients with acute and subacute cerebellar damage showed preserved comprehension and appreciation of humor using a validated humor test evaluating comprehension, funniness and aversiveness of cartoons ("3WD Humor Test"). Additionally, there was no difference when compared to healthy controls in the number and intensity of facial reactions and laughter while observing jokes, humorous cartoons, or video sketches measured by the Facial Action Coding System. However, as depression scores were significantly increased in patients with cerebellar stroke, a concealing effect of accompanying depression cannot be excluded. Current findings add to descriptions in the literature that cognitive or affective disorders in patients with lesions restricted to the cerebellum, even in the acute state after damage, are frequently mild and might only be present in more sensitive or specific tests.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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