Why Do We Laugh?


| 6 Comments
Laughing is something we do every day. Whether it be a chuckle or full-fledged roar, a laugh is our way of expressing pleasure, derision, nervousness, etc. Recently I asked myself, "why do we laugh?" The answer that I got from my ever so brilliant friends was, "Because it's funny." Besides the obvious I wanted to know why, scientifically, we laugh. 

Studies show that laughter first appears at roughly 4 months of age. At such a young age one can conclude that laughter is not a learned behavior but something that is natural. When humans are tickled, laughter is generally the natural response. When apes/chimpanzees are tickled they don't laugh but they produce a panting sound which is their form of laughter, and our roots of laughter. Before humans were fully developed, laughter was a much simpler form of communication. Throughout much evolutionary development, laughter has turned instinctual for us. According to Dr. Robert Provine, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, "Laughter isn't under our conscious control." This is hardly debatable because of personal experiences that I'm sure we've all had that involves laughing at inappropriate or unusual times. 

So besides the fact that we laugh because something was funny, it is also because our monkey ancestors hardwired us to. It is something that is naturally beyond our control but I'm not against it. To me, laughter is the greatest way of expressing emotion. 


6 Comments

That is adorable - I have the most obnoxious laugh ever which makes me think I was a gorilla or something in a past life.

I love the idea of "Why Do We Laugh?" Its great to think about. Laughter is such a wonderful attribute that human beings are lucky enough to have. However, your article made me wonder if human beings (and our close relative, the chimp) are the only animals that can laugh. As I researched more into this idea I found that lots of animals express laughter, although it may not sound quite like ours. Dogs, rats and even dolphins are scientifically known for being able to laugh as well as humans and chimps! I wonder what they find so funny!

This was a great idea for a blog! It's so cool to see what other people come up with that I never would have thought of. I never wondered why we laughed I thought it was just because we were happy. I found this on youtube is called the world's funniest laughs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VRYocgzAGM

Not gonna lie I actually frequently wonder about things such as why we laugh or why we yawn. Interesting topic! In the second blog I posted, I talked about how running can trigger endorphins--the feel good neurotransmitters of the brain. This article tells about how laughing can trigger endorphins also, and why laughter may be an awesome natural medicine!

This is actually a great idea for a blog. However, it made me wonder about how some people laugh more than others, why is that? And when we try to hold in laughter, what are we actually doing? Is laughing contagious?

This was a very interesting article on why we laugh. I never really thought of how laughter is actually a natural instinct, as opposed to something that we control. You could check out my initial blog right here

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