The humor code

A Global Search For What Makes Things Funny

Roger Fisher and William Ury
Science and Technology


We all enjoy laughing, but have you ever thought about why we do it? Laughter isn’t only about having fun, it’s a part of our biology. Our ancestors evolved laughter as a communication tool. And we don’t laugh only to communicate that something is funny; laughter can also relieve stress, make frightening things less scary and help us connect to other people in difficult times. In these FlashNotes, you’ll learn about scientific research that helps us understand why certain things are funny to us. You’ll learn about the different uses of humor, it’s cultural variation, and the dark side of humor – when it leads to misunderstandings.

About the author

Roger Fisher was Samuel Williston Professor of Law emeritus at Harvard Law School and director of the Harvard Negotiation Project. William Ury is an American author, academic, anthropologist, and negotiation expert. He co-founded the Harvard Program on Negotiation.