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, ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

For boys at risk of psychopathy, laughter isn't so contagious

For most people, laughter is highly contagious. It's nearly impossible to hear or see someone laughing and not feel the urge to join in. But researchers reporting in Current Biology on September 28 have new evidence to show ...

Neuroscience

Laughter may be a serious evolutionary tool

(HealthDay)—Sharing a laugh can make you feel closer to someone else, and that quick-forming social bond may have been a big evolutionary boon to human survival, a small study suggests.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Social laughter releases endorphins in the brain

Recent results obtained by researchers from Turku PET Centre, the University of Oxford and Aalto University have revealed how social laughter leads to endorphin release in the brain, possibly promoting establishment of social ...

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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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