Psychology & Psychiatry

Laughter acts as a stress buffer—and even smiling helps

People who laugh frequently in their everyday lives may be better equipped to deal with stressful events—although this does not seem to apply to the intensity of laughter. These are the findings reported by a research team ...

Medical research

Doctors find a cure for rare uncontrollable laughter condition

Laughter is the best medicine, except when it is actually the symptom of an illness. Medical residents at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) helped to find relief for a man who suffered from nearly a lifelong affliction that ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Why we laugh when we know it's wrong

For the Batek people of the Malaysian peninsula rainforest, laughter can be dangerous. Within the system of taboos of these egalitarian hunter-gatherers, laughing in certain situations can cause storms, illness or even death. ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Mayo mindfulness: Tips to tame stress

Is stress making you frustrated and irritable? Stress relievers can help restore calm and serenity to your chaotic life. You don't have to invest a lot of time or thought into stress relievers. If your stress is getting out ...

Other

How do babies laugh? Like chimps!

Few things can delight an adult more easily than the uninhibited, effervescent laughter of a baby. Yet baby laughter, a new study shows, differs from adult laughter in a key way: Babies laugh as they both exhale and inhale, ...

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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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