Study shows out laughter is contagious

December 13, 2006

Laughter is said to be contagious and now British scientists studying how the brain responds to emotive sounds believe they understand why.

Researchers at University College London and Imperial College London have shown positive sounds such as laughter trigger a response in the area of a listener's brain that is activated when we smile, as though preparing facial muscles to laugh.

"It seems that it's absolutely true that 'laugh and the whole world laughs with you'," said Dr Sophie Scott, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL. "We've known for some time now that when we are talking to someone, we often mirror their behavior, copying the words they use and mimicking their gestures. Now we've shown that the same appears to apply to laughter, too -- at least at the level of the brain."

The research appears in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Eureka! Physicists celebrate evidence of particle

Related Stories

Eureka! Physicists celebrate evidence of particle

July 4, 2012

Scientists at the world's biggest atom smasher hailed the discovery of "the missing cornerstone of physics" Wednesday, cheering the apparent end of a decades-long quest for a new subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, ...

Recommended for you

Study: Early Americas girl 'Naia' may have been young mother

March 30, 2017

More details have emerged about one of the oldest sets of human remains found in the Americas, a young woman nicknamed "Naia" whose nearly complete skeleton was discovered in 2007 in a water-filled cave in Mexico's Yucatan ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.