LondonNet News Headlines
20/04/00
Genes Are No Laughing Matter
- Humour not linked to heredity, say London researchers

THOSE who can only muster an embarrassed groan at their parent's jokes have known it all along, but now London scientists have come up with evidence to show that we don't get our sense of humour from our mums and dads.

Researchers at St Thomas' Hospital on London's south bank showed some Gary Larson Far Side cartoons to a group of identical twins and then to a group of other siblings and asked everyone to rate the jokes. If genes had much to do with humour, so the theory went, identical twins would hand Larson's surreal humour much more similar scores than their non-identical co-respondents. To the shock of the research team, that didn't happen.

"It's a surprise, because most personality traits have genetic components," team leader Dr Tim Spector says in today's New Scientist magazine. "This implies that there's a lot of cultural influence on humour." Keep 'em coming Doc, you're killing me.




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