A year-long internet search for the world?s funniest joke brought in 2 million votes on 40,000 entries, and finally been narrowed down to one. Jokes were submitted by people from over 70 countries.

The LaughLab experiment was started by U.K. psychologist Richard Wiseman, who says there are clear national trends in humor. People from the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand prefer jokes involving word plays. American and Canadians liked jokes where someone else looks stupid. Many European countries preferred surreal jokes. Germans gave the jokes the highest ratings. Jokes are common around the world, with one exception. “It is very, very difficult to find joke-telling in Japan,” Wiseman says.

About one third of jokes were rejected for being too offensive. Acceptable jokes had to be suitable for a 10-year-old. The LaughLab found that the world?s “funniest animal” is the duck. “If you’re going to tell a joke involving an animal, make it a duck,” Wiseman says.

The results show that people from different parts of the world have fundamentally different senses of humor. “Humor is vital to communication and the more we understand about how people’s culture and background affect their sense of humor, the more we will be able to communicate effectively,” says Wiseman.

Here?s the winner: A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator, in a calm soothing voice, says: “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line. He says: “OK, now what?”

Wiseman says, “This one had real universal appeal.?

How can we physically change ourselves to become the kind of people we want to be? Joseph Chilton Pearce tells us the secret in ?The Biology of Transcendence? and ?The Crack in the Cosmic Egg,?click here. Pearce will bring his wisdom and humor to Dreamland on October 5.

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