Finally, something to explain the popularity of Hello Kitty. An article in the NEW SCIENTIST says the results of a brain scan study have shown that women are more easily amused by cartoons than men. Or in scientific terms:
[The researchers] were surprised to find differences in the part of the brain known as the reward centre. The nucleus accumbens, part of the mesolimbic reward centre, is a dopamine-rich area that is most strongly activated when a reward – in this case, a funny joke – is unexpected. The team discovered that when women found a cartoon funny, their reward centre was more active than for men, suggesting the females’ expectation of being amused was lower. But when men found a cartoon unfunny, they showed de-activation in their reward centre, suggesting disappointment.
(Thanks, David Maas)