Friday, April 28, 2017

Why We Laugh

article by Audrey Elston
edited by Sofia Albert

    Laughing is an odd body function with many mysteries surrounding it. Many scientific studies have been done to better understand why laughing is our go to action when we find something funny. A study shows that people usually laugh a total of seven times in ten minutes of conversation. But why exactly do we laugh at all?
    Laughter is a body function that seems to be used to maintain and build relationships with others. Around the age of 3.5-4 months is when laughter to begins, and like crying, is a way for infants to communicate with parents. It is also predicted that the years of 5-6 are the years that people laugh the most. It is most likely a evolution of a panting noise that can be heard from apes and gorillas when tickled. It can be seen as well it rats, when tickled or during play they will produce a high pitched noise that shows happiness, just like in humans.
    It has also been stated that most laughter is not after a funny statement, but shows the relationships between people. A study was done by some undergraduate researchers where they recorded conversations before a group of people laughed in a mall. Many of the results showed that they would laugh after simple sentences like, “Here comes Mary,” “How'd you do on that test?” or “Do you have a rubber band?” Laughter is not something that we can just do, but a reaction our brain makes for social bonding.
    Laughter is not always about bonding with others, but about something liking jokes. When researching for a book on laughter Richard Wiseman did studies on what was found funny and the Duck was voted as the funniest animal. Wiseman also asked over a million people to rate their favorite jokes and found that the meanest or inappropriate jokes were rated the funniest. The joke that was voted the funniest was:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He’s not breathing and his eyes are glazed, so his friend calls 911. “My friend is dead! What should I do?”
The operator replies, “Calm down, sir. I can help. First make sure that he’s dead.”
There’s a silence, then a loud bang! Back on the phone, the guy says, “Ok, now what?”

Provine, Robert. "A Big Mystery: Why Do We Laugh?"
          NBCUniversal News Group, 14 Dec. 2003. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

Scott, Prof Sophie. "The Science of Laughter." BBC News. BBC, 11 Sept. 2016.  
          Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

Weems, Scott. "The Science Behind Why We Laugh, And The Funniest Joke In The World."

The Huffington Post., 04 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

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