How do you communicate with the person who speaks a different language? You laugh! Laughter is undoubtedly a universal language which shows that it has a much deeper significance to man’s existence.
Laughter, a form of communication, has existed even before humans developed language. Laughing has been used as a medium to build bonds between groups and as a playful way for mothers and infants.
Our brains are hardwired for laughter which makes us smile or laugh especially when we hear others laughing.
Laughter is a reflexive response — you cannot force it on yourself. It is a response that is triggered by your brain mechanisms and influences your facial expressions, breathing patterns and even your arm and leg muscles.[ohd_ad_one] It is also observed to contribute a huge impact on health. There have been numerous mysteries and anomaly that make laughter the most amazing physical reaction that humans experience.
Here are 10 facts about laughter that are really fascinating:
- Rats are Ticklish
It is surprising but rats laugh. Unlike humans, rats do not laugh at jokes or in the company of other rats, they laugh when they are tickled. The first laughing Rat was seen in the 1990s by Psychologist Jack Panksepp, though a special equipment was required to hear it since the rat laughs are extremely high pitched.
Actually, other species of the animal kingdom like primates and dogs laugh too.
- You laugh more in the company of others – not because of jokes
A research by laughter expert Dr. Robert Provine states that if you are enjoying solid full-body laughing, you are more likely to be in the company of others. The fact is, instead of a funny movie or a joke, another person is often responsible for triggering a critical laughter for a majority of people.
Dr. Provine and his team analyzed 1,200 people laughing in their natural surroundings and discovered that only about 10-20 percent of the time, jokes triggered laughter. The rest of the time, social laughter occurred, which was 30 times more frequent than an unaccompanied laughter.
In the majority of cases, the laughter followed ordinary comment or usually a moderately humorous one, which indicates that the person is more important that the material in prompting laughter.
- Your brain can tell the difference between real and staged laughter
It has been shown by Professor Linda Scott, a leading researcher on laughter, that your brain can detect fake laughter. When you hear deliberate, staged laughter, it triggers more activity in your brain’s anterior medial prefrontal cortex, which enables you to comprehend other people’s emotions including laughter.
Thus, your brain automatically starts interpreting why somebody is intentionally laughing.
- Laughter is contagious
There is a popular saying “laugh and the whole world laughs with you” which clearly suggests that laughter is contagious. Certain regions of your premotor cortical area of your brain, which is responsible for your facial muscles movement to respond to sound, gets activated on hearing the sound of laughter.
- Known comedians are funnier
Familiarity plays a crucial role in humor and researchers have found that people find jokes to be much funnier when told by well-known comedians instead, told by somebody they are not familiar with.
- Burn calories with laughing
Dieting? Get to laughing! It tends to raise both your heart rate and expenditure by 10-20 percent, which helps you burn up to 40 calories provided you laugh solidly for 10 to 15 minutes to see meaningful effects.
- Laughter strengthens relationships
Researchers show that relationships report a higher level of satisfaction when they use laughter and smile as their weapons during discussing sensitive subjects. This also results in successful long-term relationships.
- Laughter needs timing
Laughter shows an exclusive pattern. It tends to happen during the break in speech or at the end of sentences, it scarcely happens in the middle of a sentence. This clearly shows that language is gaining the priority.
“The occurrence of speaker laughter at the end of phrases suggests that a neurologically based process governs the placement of laughter in speech.
Different brain regions are involved in the expression of cognitively oriented speech and the more emotion-laden vocalization of laughter.” says Dr. Provine.
Stand-Up comedians also give audiences time to laugh at the end of sentences and bounce back at the right time to avoid trampling on the laughter and lose the momentum of the room.
- Laughter Makes You Attractive
Women laugh 126% more than men during cross-gender conversations, where men found to be the one triggering the laughter, according to Dr. Provine.
In an analysis of over 3,700 newspaper personal ads, Dr. Provine found that men found to provide humor in their ads,while women were 62 percent more likely to state laughter, including matrimonial ads seeking a partner with good sense of humor.
- Certain things are guaranteed to make everyone laugh
Professor Scott revealed that the best was to make everyone laugh is to make them watch a video of people trying to hold their laughter in situations where it absolutely irrelevant to do so.
Laughter Boosts Memory Too
As we discussed earlier, humor also has an impact on your health and Researchers of California’s Loma Linda University did a study that shows the role of humor in your health. They gathered 20 older adults and divided them into two groups – one that sat silently for 20 minutes and the other that watched funny videos. After each session, both the groups were assigned a small short-term memory test.
As a result, the group that watched funny videos showed 43.6 percent of improvement whereas the other group showed only 20 percent of improvement. Also, the humor group had comparatively lower stress hormone levels.
Laughter acts as an entertaining tool to help reduce counteract-related memory in older adults, according to the researchers of the study.
“The research also suggests that humor can have rehabilitative implications and clinical benefits and can be easily integrated into programs that foster whole-personal well-being for older adults. Delayed recall and learning capabilities are imperative to these people for a better lifestyle – keeping in account economic and social aspects, spirit, body and mind. Many older adults may suffer from age-related memory deficiencies. However, today medical practitioners can provide beneficial, enjoyable, and positive humor therapies to help them recover.”
Laughter improves sleep, immunity and more
The list of the benefits of laughter doesn’t end here. Researchers also show that it reduces stress hormones and improves the immune system while promoting optimistic feelings. Laughter is a bundle of spiritual, social, psychological, physiological and quality of life advantages, in a way that an increasing number of medical and healthcare centers are using laughter therapy to treat their patients. Additional therapies like laugh parties and laughter yoga are also gaining in popularity across the world.
Laughter therapy offers following list of the benefits:
- Muscle relaxation
- Improves creativity and memory
- Promotes well-being and positive thoughts
- Activates your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins)
- Improves sleep and immune system
- Ease digestive process
- Enhances oxygen level in the body
- Enhances blood pressure
Laugh Every Day
It’s quite easy for children to laugh every day, but adults often forget to induce laughter in their everyday lives. Laugh and smile every day even if it’s not possible for you. Figure out what makes you laugh and put efforts to do it daily. Remember, you are more likely to enjoy laughter with others, so make it a habit of sharing humor with your loved ones, colleagues or friends.
It is also recommended by some experts to get 15 to 20 minutes of laughter every day, just like your workout and eating healthy routine.
What are you waiting for? Start your day with a dose of fun and laughter.