ResearchBib Share Your Research, Maximize Your Social Impacts
Sign for Notice Everyday Sign up >> Login

Cognitive underpinnings of misperceptions in morphed humor

Journal: Russian Journal of Linguistics (Vol.28, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ; ;

Page : 415-438

Keywords : morphed unit; cognitive error; meme; script; cultural literacy; allusion;

Source : Download Find it from : Google Scholarexternal


A meme as a cultural and semiotic phenomenon has been actively studied within the framework of humor research; however, the question why memes may not elicit a humorous response remains unanswered. This article examines the causes of typical cognitive errors in the perception of humor in the so-called morphed units (memes, image macros, photoshopped images and virals) characterized by a combination of signals of one or different modalities and potentially capable of eliciting a humorous response in the meme consumer. The goal of the study is to describe and classify such errors on the example of a morphed unit from the sad keanu meme cycle. The conducted survey yielded empirical data permitting further qualitative analysis of the respondents' answers regarding the perception of the proposed meme. The obtained results show that in an ideal situation a stimulus image should metonymically activate script structures essential for the understanding of a morphed unit; a script may include allusive experiences which correlate with previously appropriated culture-specific situations. The paper defines meme interpretation errors as related either to the process of perceiving a stimulus at the level of the i consume memes metascript or а cognitive failure occurring during the activation of the scripts constituting the humorous opposition if only the relevant scripts are conceptualized and internalized by the individual. Any type of interpretation failure may be attributed to partial or zero cultural literacy in the meme consumer. A failed humorous response in the situations of sufficient cultural literacy of the subject may be explained by social and pragmatic factors, such as the consumer’s norms and values which may differ from those of the meme originator. The study claims that the main source of cognitive errors lies in the inability of a meme consumer to activate the scripts (or their parts) relevant to the understanding of humor. This methodology can be applied for any multimodal humour research.

Last modified: 2024-06-11 18:09:32