"I did this interesting study in which we did eye-tracking as people looked at … different types of cartoons. Sometimes the cartoons were just verbal cartoons and sometimes they had a visual element and we watched their eyes and the moment that they get the cartoon their pupil expands almost like it would for a flashbulb. So we can track the actual "get it moment." That’s the type of research I’m interested in.
… It means that humor is a cognitive process. It’s a creative process not only on the part of the cartoonist, but on the part of the viewer. And I think that’s very interesting because that will be analogous to the “a-ha moment” in scientific invention or when you get a crossword puzzle.”
Cartoon by Bob Mankoff via Henry Holt and Co.