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Mehrdeutigkeit als kulturelles Phänomen


Edited By Nicolas Potysch and Matthias Bauer

Dieser Band ist aus einer interdisziplinären Ringvorlesung hervorgegangen, die von den Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden des Tübinger Graduiertenkollegs „Ambiguität: Produktion und Rezeption", federführend Nicolas Potysch und Sophia Kuhs, initiiert und geplant wurde. In den Beiträgen aus 12 verschiedenen Fachgebieten geht es darum, wie sprachliche und semiotische Mehrdeutigkeit an die Deutung der Wirklichkeit rückgebunden ist. Die Beiträge untersuchen Ambiguität (als Mehrzahl abgrenzbarer Bedeutungen) und Vagheit (als Spektrum nicht abgrenzbarer Bedeutungen) in Texten und Bildern. In Verbindung damit diskutieren sie zahlreiche Phänomene in kultureller, politischer, juristischer, psychologischer und didaktischer Praxis, die deutungsoffen und deutungsbedürftig sind.

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Mehrdeutigkeit und Humor



The most important cognitive theories of humor rely on the concept of incongruity – an incompatibility between the expected outcome and the actual outcome of an event, situation, or story. The expectations are a result of the cognitive representation a recipient has constructed in his or her mind. A widely used verbal humor mechanism, also referred to as the Garden Path mechanism, consists in situations or stories that (intentionally) mislead recipients and trick them into false interpretations, or into false expectations as a result of these wrong interpretations. Most of these humorous instances exploit some form of underlying ambiguity. Possible reasons for the close relationship between humor and ambiguity may be found by connecting evolutionary psychological approaches towards the understanding of humor and laughter with observations concerning knowledge, language, and discourse comprehension. In this article, it is suggested that individuals aim to actively construct representations of ongoing situations that are as correct as possible by perceiving, selecting and combining cues in the most plausible manner. However, the number of possible representations is theoretically infinite. Therefore, ambiguity – or at least vagueness and uncertainty – is omnipresent. A crucial skill for the success of individuals has always been to adapt as quickly as possible to a new situation if a representation turns out to be wrong. Humor has had an evolutionary benefit since it serves as playful and social training of cognitive skills related to the detecting of deceptions and to the debugging of erroneous beliefs.


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