LOL


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We double our bodies over, hold our stomachs and gasping for air all while our eyes our squinted and mouths wide open.  We actually look like we are in pain but we are just simply laughing. When a person has an emotional reaction his or her frontal lobe of the brain becomes active. I always assumed that laughter would also incorporate the same part of the brain because of a reaction to something humorous, but researchers have found that when a person engages in a laughing matter the brain works in different areas.

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            During the study scientists observed the brain's frontal lobe, the left and right hemispheres of the cortex, the occipital lobe, and the motor sensors. Surprisingly enough, all of these areas of the brain worked together in order to produce the entire laughing process.

            First the left portion of the cortex "analyzes the words and structure of the joke" (Marshall Brain). The structure of this section of the brain is made of cells that cover the whole forebrain. The next step in producing laughter involves the frontal lobe. As previously stated before, this part of the brain is used when a person experiences a type of emotional reaction. The next activated area of the brain during this experience is the right side of the cortex. The right cortex lights up because it is the intellectual part of the brain and used for a person to understand what is humorous. Next the occipital lobe is used for processing sensory details. This piece of the brain is located on "on the back of the head"(Marshall Brain) and is comprised of cells that aid in the visual process.  Then last the motor senses allow for a physical response to the humorous act.

            Knowing that laughing makes my stomach hurt made me curious about if laughing is actually a matter of exercise. A professor at Oxford University says, "'Laughter involves the repeated, forceful exhalation of breath from the lungs'". (Reynolds). The diaphragm is forced in and out rapidly, which explains why your stomach muscles hurt after laughing for so long, "Rather like a workout" (Reynolds). This explains why laughter allows us to feel good. After giggling for so long we have the same positive feelings such as those that we have after working out. With learning all of this I made the executive decision not to go to the gym but rather sit with my friends and crack up laughing. No I didn't get the extent of the results that I would have if I had ran 2 miles, but at least I got a little bit of an ab workout!

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2 Comments

Hi Laura,
I actually really enjoyed reading this post as it had an obvious positive vibe and it was a topic I am heavily acquainted with. It's so funny how something as simple as breathing - laughing - can involve so many different parts of the brain working together in harmony to occur. I have also heard several cliches about how laughing is an workout for abs, so it's nice to have some scientific proof to back it up! Besides laughing just being enjoyable as well as an apparent workout, did you know it is also proven to release stress? According to this article, there are two different types of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is the kind of day-to-day stress you experience from homework, work, friends, etc, and distress is the kind of long-lasting stress from a loved one dying, a move, etc. Laughing is proven, according to a study done by Scientists Berk and Tan, to release some of the distress. So, the next time something is really getting you down, feel free to kick back and laugh a while. It's the world's easiest stress reliever.

Considering I'm one of your best friends, I'm not surprised at all that you chose to write about this for your blog topic - YOU ARE ALWAYS LAUGHING! Not only that, but your laugh can be heard from a mile away. I've always heard that laughing is "good for you", but it's nice to see that your post can now confirm that. I've never thought much about the science of laughter, so naturally this got me thinking... What causes some people to think something is funny while others don't find it humorous at all? I found this article about why men and women process humor differently, and it's very eye-opening! http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/humor-sapiens/201202/do-men-and-women-process-humor-differently

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