Neuroscientist and stand-up comedian Professor Sophie Scott has compiled some surprising facts about laughter:
1. Rats laugh when tickled
Rats laugh when tickled, and the more they play together, the more they laugh. Psychologist Jack Panksepp first observed a laughing rat in the 1990s and used special equipment to hear it because the rat laughed at a very high pitch.
People laugh more when they are with other people – not just because conversations are fun.
According to laughter expert Dr. Robert Provine, you are much more likely to laugh when you are with other people. The decisive factor that makes most people laugh is that it’s not a joke, it’s not a funny movie, it’s someone else.
After observing 1,200 people laughing in their natural environment, Dr. Provine and his team found that jokes caused only 10 to 20 percent of the observation period. People who laughed together were 30 times more likely to laugh alone than when they laughed alone.
In most cases, a mundane or a little funny is followed by a laughter, demonstrating that it is more important to make a person laugh than the content of the conversation.
2. The human brain can catch fake laughter
Professor Scott’s research shows that our brains can tell the difference between real and staged laughter. When you hear a staged or conscious laugh, the medial prefrontal cortex in the front of your brain, which helps you understand other people’s emotions, starts to work more actively.
The study claims that when this happens, the brain automatically moves on to the task of consciously deciphering why you’re smiling.
3. laughter is contagious
“Smile, and the world will laugh with you” is more than just an expression. Laughter is really contagious. The sound of laughter triggers a region within the premotor cortex of the brain, which engages in facial muscle movements consistent with the sound and prepares it to laugh together.
4. The jokes of a well-known comedian are more fun
Familiarity is an important part of humor and laughter, and research shows that people enjoy the same jokes more when they are told by a famous comedian than when they are told by a stranger.
5. Laughter burns calories
Laughter increases both energy expenditure and heart rate by about 10 to 20 percent. That means you can burn about 10-40 calories by laughing for 10-15 minutes. While this sounds plausible in theory, it takes an hour or more of non-tired laughter to get any meaningful effect in terms of calorie consumption.
6. Laughter is good for relationships
Research shows that couples who use laughter and a smile when talking about sensitive topics feel better in immediacy and report higher scores in relationship satisfaction. They also tend to last longer in relationships.
7. Laughter needs timing
Laughter has a unique pattern. There is almost no laughter in the middle of a sentence. Instead, laughter occurs at the end of a sentence or at the moment of a brief pause in speech, indicating that language is given priority.
The comedian also takes advantage of the natural tendency of laughter to grow and disappear, leaving a space at the end of a sentence to fill the audience with laughter.
8. laughter is attractive
Dr. Provine’s study found that women laughed 126 percent more than men in heterosexual conversations, and men preferred to play a role in inducing laughter.
Provine reviewed more than 3,700 newspaper-published personal ads and found that men were 62 percent more likely to mention laughter, including ads that said women were looking for a mate with a sense of humor, while men were more likely to offer humor in their ads. found high.
9. Things that can actually make anyone laugh
There is no single joke that makes everyone laugh, but Professor Scott has discovered that one of the best tools to make anyone in his lab laugh is a video of him holding back his laughter in situations where he can’t help but laugh.
10. Laughter is good for memory
Researchers at the University of California’s Loma Linda University looked at the health role of humor. They divided adults over the age of 20 into two groups and asked one group to watch a fun video and the other to sit quietly for 20 minutes. Both groups were tested for short-term memory before and after the session.
On this test, the humor group improved their scores significantly by 43.6 percent, compared to the non-humor group that scored only 20 percent. Participants in the humor group had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. According to researchers, laughter is a pleasurable tool to help combat age-related memory decline in older adults.
“The findings suggest that humor can have clinical efficacy and rehabilitative implications and can be practiced within programs that support the holistic health of older people. Learning and memory impairments are important for those seeking a better quality of life mentally, physically, mentally, socially and economically. Older people may also experience age-related memory loss. However, health care workers can provide positive, enjoyable, and beneficial humor therapy to ameliorate this decline.”