A Caltech Library Service

Humor Modulates the Mesolimbic Reward Centers

Mobbs, Dean and Greicius, Michael D. and Abdel-Azim, Eiman and Menon, Vinod and Reiss, Allan L. (2003) Humor Modulates the Mesolimbic Reward Centers. Neuron, 40 (5). pp. 1041-1048. ISSN 0896-6273. doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(03)00751-7.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Humor plays an essential role in many facets of human life including psychological, social, and somatic functioning. Recently, neuroimaging has been applied to this critical human attribute, shedding light on the affective, cognitive, and motor networks involved in humor processing. To date, however, researchers have failed to demonstrate the subcortical correlates of the most fundamental feature of humor—reward. In an effort to elucidate the neurobiological substrate that subserves the reward components of humor, we undertook a high-field (3 Tesla) event-related functional MRI study. Here we demonstrate that humor modulates activity in several cortical regions, and we present new evidence that humor engages a network of subcortical regions including the nucleus accumbens, a key component of the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system. Further, the degree of humor intensity was positively correlated with BOLD signal intensity in these regions. Together, these findings offer new insight into the neural basis of salutary aspects of humor.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Mobbs, Dean0000-0003-1175-3772
Additional Information:© 2003 Cell Press. Received 12 May 2003. Revised 13 August 2003. Accepted 22 October 2003. Available online 27 July 2004. Published: December 3, 2003. The authors wish to thank Chris White, Nancy Adelman, and Gaurav Srivastava for their help in data acquisition and analysis. This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Health to A.L.R. (MH01142).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180305-080448140
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Dean Mobbs, Michael D Greicius, Eiman Abdel-Azim, Vinod Menon, Allan L Reiss, Humor Modulates the Mesolimbic Reward Centers, Neuron, Volume 40, Issue 5, 2003, Pages 1041-1048, ISSN 0896-6273, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:85086
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:05 Mar 2018 23:46
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:25

Repository Staff Only: item control page