The science of laughter – and why it also has a dark side

When you hear someone laugh behind you, you probably picture them on the phone or with a friend – smiling and experiencing a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Chances are just the sound of the laughter could make you smile or ...

Laughter is an effective catalyst for new relationships

If you want someone to open up to you, just make them laugh. Sharing a few good giggles and chuckles makes people more willing to tell others something personal about themselves, without even necessarily being aware that ...

New avatars capable of laughing

Today's computer-based avatars lack one of our most deeply rooted human characteristics: laughter. Computer scientists have now teamed up with psychologists to give avatars the ability to laugh.

The origins of laughter

We know the benefits of laughter on health. But why do we laugh? What are the evolutionary origins of laughter and humour? Steven Légaré has asked these questions and has made them the subject of his master's thesis, which ...

Laugh and apes laugh with you

(PhysOrg.com) -- Just like humans, chimpanzees mimic the laughter of their playmates even if they don't find the situation as 'funny'.

No laughing matter: Laughter can play key role in group dynamics

Laughter can play key roles in group communication and group dynamics - even when there's nothing funny going on. That's according to new research from North Carolina State University that examined the role of laughter in ...

Hyenas' laughter signals deciphered

Acoustic analysis of the 'giggle' sound made by spotted hyenas has revealed that the animals' laughter encodes information about age, dominance and identity. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Ecology recorded ...

A Serious Question: Why Do We Laugh?

(PhysOrg.com) -- Not surprisingly, Robert Lynch begins his research paper "It's Funny Because We Think It's True: Laughter is Augmented by Implicit Preferences" with a joke. Not his joke, but one taken from a toast Homer ...

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Laughter

Laughing is a reaction to certain stimuli, fundamentally stress, which serves as an emotional balancing mechanism. Traditionally, it is considered a visual expression of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy. It may ensue from hearing a joke, being tickled, or other stimuli. It is in most cases a very pleasant sensation.

Laughter is found among various animals, as well as in humans, although it is more rare in most mammals and animals overall. Among the human species, it is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group—it signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seen as contagious, and the laughter of one person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. This may account in part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows. Laughter is anatomically caused by the epiglottis constricting the larynx. The study of humor and laughter, and its psychological and physiological effects on the human body, is called gelotology.

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