Practical Joking and Cingulate Cortex: A Standardized Low-Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (sLORETA) Investigation of Practical Joking in the Cerebral Volume


  • Rex Cannon
  • Joel Lubar
  • Jennifer G. Clements
  • Ellen Harvey
  • Debora Baldwin



Background. This study investigated differences between brain regions during the evaluation of self-attitude toward practical joking and the evaluation of practical jokes utilizing standardized low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA). Method. Four male and 8 female nonclinical university students (Mage ¼ 22.6 years) completed aLikert scale evaluating their perception of pranking behavior (LK) and rated pranks as good or bad (HE) while undergoing electroencephalographic (EEG) recording. The subjective scale and evaluation responseswere recordedwithin theEEGrecord, extracted, and compared for significance. Results. The sLORETA comparisons show significant differences between the judgments about practical jokes (LK) and the evaluation of practical jokes in written form (HE). The evaluation of practical joking appears to increase activation in the anterior and posterior cingulate gyrus. Both conditions show significant difference as compared to eyes-opened baseline. Conclusions. The evaluative processes appear to involve posterior cingulate cortex, and decisions relating to self-attitudes toward practical joking may be more associated with the executive portions of anterior cingulate cortex. There is plausible long range communication between these regions during the process of evaluating self-attitudes toward practical jokes and making decisions about the ‘‘good or bad’’ qualities of practical jokes. Both conditions elicit activity in the left hemisphere; however, the LK condition shows maximum increase at BA 30, which implicates it in attentional, cognitive, and executive processes, including the reference to self. This posterior cingulate activation possibly integrates memory and evaluative processes related to the decision making element associated with the rating task.