Laughter may work like meditation in the brain

April 27, 2014
Laughter may work like meditation in the brain
Study monitored brain waves of people watching different types of videos.

(HealthDay)—Laughter triggers brain waves similar to those associated with meditation, according to a small new study.

It also found that other forms of stimulation produce different types of .

The study included 31 people whose waves were monitored while they watched humorous, spiritual or distressing video clips. While watching the humorous videos, the volunteers' brains had high levels of , which are the same ones produced during meditation, researchers found.

During the spiritual videos, the participants' brains showed higher levels of alpha brain waves, similar to when a person is at rest. The distressing videos caused flat brain wave bands, similar to when a person feels detached, nonresponsive or doesn't want to be in a certain situation.

Researchers were led by Lee Berk, an associate professor in the School of Allied Health Professions, and an associate research professor of pathology and human anatomy in the School of Medicine, at Loma Linda University, in California.

The study was scheduled to be presented Sunday at the Experimental Biology meeting held in San Diego. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"What we have found in our study is that humor associated with mirthful laughter sustains high-amplitude gamma-band oscillations. Gamma is the only frequency found in every part of the brain," Berk said in a university news release.

"What this means is that humor actually engages the entire brain—it is a whole brain experience with the gamma wave band frequency and humor, similar to meditation, holds it there; we call this being 'in the zone,'" Berk explained.

He said that with laughter, "it's as if the brain gets a workout." This effect is important because it "allows for the subjective feeling states of being able to think more clearly and have more integrative thoughts," Berk said. "This is of great value to individuals who need or want to revisit, reorganize or rearrange various aspects of their lives or experiences, to make them feel whole or more focused."

Explore further: Brain's motor cortex uses multiple frequency bands to coordinate movement

More information: The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about meditation.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New insights on how cocaine changes the brain

November 25, 2015

The burst of energy and hyperactivity that comes with a cocaine high is a rather accurate reflection of what's going on in the brain of its users, finds a study published November 25 in Cell Reports. Through experiments conducted ...

Can physical exercise enhance long-term memory?

November 25, 2015

Exercise can enhance the development of new brain cells in the adult brain, a process called adult neurogenesis. These newborn brain cells play an important role in learning and memory. A new study has determined that mice ...

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...

No cable spaghetti in the brain

November 24, 2015

Our brain is a mysterious machine. Billions of nerve cells are connected such that they store information as efficiently as books are stored in a well-organized library. To this date, many details remain unclear, for instance ...


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.