Oct – 16: PUBLIC INTEREST
Facts about laughter you may not know
Itâ€™s a myth that we laugh mostly at jokes; we laugh to bond with friends.
Laughter is the most basic form of expression and communication. It is a great way to improve your mood and that of those around you. It is contagious – the sounds of laughter often trigger laughter. It is attractive – people are drawn to people who laugh easily. Apart from these well-known benefits of laughter,Â given belowÂ are some interesting lesser known facts.
Humans laughed before they spoke
Some scientists believe that laughter was used as a way for humans to relate to one another millions of years before they developed the lung strength for language. Laughter is believed to have its origins in the rough play of primates and has evolved from their panting behaviour.
Usually, laughter isnâ€™t about jokes
According to Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, we actually laugh most when talking to our friends. But, we are still not laughing at jokes – we laugh at statements and comments. In a study conducted at the University of Maryland, the researchers listened in on normal conversations at local malls. They found that out of 1,200 â€˜laugh episodes,â€™ only about 10% were generated by a joke. So, laughter is less to do with jokes and more a social behaviour which we use to show people that we like and understand them.
Rats and monkeys laugh
Several scientists have elicited â€˜tickle-induced vocalizationsâ€™ from primates and rats. Laughing rats were first observed in the 1990s when high-pitched chuckles were elicited by tickling them. Koko, the gorilla famous for her sign language abilities, had a special â€˜ho, ho,â€™ for visitors she liked.
Couples who laugh together, stay together
In a study at the University of California Berkeley, couples were asked to discuss something that irritated them about their partner. The couples who tackled the stressful situation with laughter not only felt better in the moment, but had higher levels of relationship satisfaction and stayed together longer than couples who didn’t laugh together.
Laughing burns calories
Just 10 to 15 minutes of laughing a day can burn up to 40 calories, according to a Vanderbilt University study. Researchers determined that the increase in heart rate and oxygen consumption during these funny moments boosted the burn.
Laughter controls our brains
When you see people laughing, you just can’t help but smile. That’s because your brain makes it nearly impossible not to. In research from University College, London, scientists found that when laughing sounds were played, the pre-motor cortical region of the subjectsâ€™ brains, which prepares the muscles in the face to move, was activated.
Finally, laughter is the best medicine
Besides, laughter has often been called the â€˜best medicineâ€™. It is known to boost the immune system, reduce stress levels, improve memory and ensure good sleep. Hearty laughter brings in much more oxygen to the lungs than normal breathing would do. Also, laughter helps in releasing endorphins which can bring positive changes to the mindset of a person.
Sources: www.rd.com, www.bbc.com, www.thefactsite.com, deliveringhappiness.com