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Workers laughing in a clothing factory.
Laughter is a physical reaction in humans and some other species of primate, consisting typically of rhythmical, often audible contractions of the diaphragm and other parts of the respiratory system. It is a response to certain external or internal stimuli. Laughter can arise from such activities as being tickled. [ 1 ] or from humorous stories or thoughts. [ 2 ] Most commonly, it is considered a visual expression of a number of positive emotional states, such as joy, mirth, happiness. relief. etc. On some occasions, however, it may be caused by contrary emotional states such as embarrassment, apology, or confusion such as nervous laughter or courtesy laugh. Age, gender, education, language, and culture are all factors [ 3 ] as to whether a person will experience laughter in a given situation.
Laughter is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain. helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group — it signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seen as contagious, and the laughter of one person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. [ 4 ] This may account in part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows.
The study of humor and laughter, and its psychological and physiological effects on the human body, is called gelotology .
Laughing is a reaction to certain stimuli, fundamentally stress. which serves as an emotional balancing mechanism. Traditionally, it is considered a visual expression of happiness. or an inward feeling of joy. It may ensue from hearing a joke. being tickled. or other stimuli. It is in most cases a very pleasant sensation.
Laughter is found among various animals, as well as in humans, although it is more rare in most mammals and animals overall. Among the human species, it is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain. helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group—it signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seen as contagious, and the laughter of one person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. [ 1 ] This may account in part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows. Laughter is anatomically caused by the epiglottis constricting the larynx. The study of humor and laughter, and its psychological and physiological effects on the human body, is called gelotology .Contents Nature of laughter
Laughter is a common response to tickling
Two girls laughing
Children are known to laugh a great deal more than adults: an average baby laughs 300 times a day compared to an average adult, who laughs 20 times a day. According to some studies, the onset of adulthood causes a gradual change characterized by increased seriousness and a diminished engagement in laughter. [ 2 ] Laughter is an audible expression or appearance of excitement, an inward feeling of joy. It may ensue from jokes. tickling. and other stimuli. Researchers have shown infants as early as 17 days old have vocal laughing sounds or laughter. [ 3 ] It conflicts with earlier studies indicating that infants usually start to laugh at about four months of age. Laughter researcher Robert Provine said: "Laughter is a mechanism everyone has; laughter is part of universal human vocabulary. There are thousands of languages, hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way.” Babies have the ability to laugh before they ever speak. Children who are born blind and deaf still retain the ability to laugh. [ citation needed ]
Provine argues that “Laughter is primitive, an unconscious vocalization.” Provine argues that it probably is genetic. In a study of the “Giggle Twins”, two happy twins who were separated at birth and only reunited 43 years later, Provine reports that “until they met each other, neither of these exceptionally happy ladies had known anyone who laughed as much as she did.” They reported this even though they both had been brought together by their adoptive parents, who they indicated were “undemonstrative and dour.” He indicates that the twins “inherited some aspects of their laugh sound and pattern, readiness to laugh, and maybe even taste in humor.” [ 4 ]
Norman Cousins developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films. "I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep," he reported. "When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval." [ 5 ] [ 6 ]
Scientists have noted the similarity in forms of laughter induced by tickling among various primates. which suggests that laughter derives from a common origin among primate species. [ 7 ] [ 8 ]
A very rare neurological condition has been observed whereby the sufferer is unable to laugh out loud, a condition known as aphonogelia. [ 9 ]Laughter and the brain
Principal fissures and lobes of the cerebrum viewed laterally. (Frontal lobe is blue, temporal lobe is green.)
Scientists have shown that parts of the limbic system are involved in laughter. [ citation needed ] This system is involved in emotions and helps us with functions necessary for humans' survival. The structures in the limbic system that are involved in laughter: the hippocampus and the amygdala. [ citation needed ]
The December 7, 1984, Journal of the American Medical Association describes the neurological causes of laughter as follows:
"Although there is no known 'laugh center' in the brain, its neural mechanism has been the subject of much, albeit inconclusive, speculation. It is evident that its expression depends on neural paths arising in close association with the telencephalic and diencephalic centers concerned with respiration. Wilson considered the mechanism to be in the region of the mesial thalamus, hypothalamus. and subthalamus. Kelly and co-workers, in turn, postulated that the tegmentum near the periaqueductal grey contains the integrating mechanism for emotional expression. Thus, supranuclear pathways, including those from the limbic system that Papez hypothesised to mediate emotional expressions such as laughter, probably come into synaptic relation in the reticular core of the brain stem. So while purely emotional responses such as laughter are mediated by subcortical structures, especially the hypothalamus, and are stereotyped, the cerebral cortex can modulate or suppress them."Laughter and health
A link between laughter and healthy function of blood vessels was first reported in 2005 by researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center with the fact that laughter causes the dilatation of the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium. and increases blood flow. [ 10 ] Drs. Michael Miller (University of Maryland) and William Fry (Stanford), theorize that beta-endorphin like compounds released by the hypothalamus activate receptors on the endothelial surface to release nitric oxide, thereby resulting in dilation of vessels. Other cardioprotective properties of nitric oxide include reduction of inflammation and decreased platelet aggregation. [ 11 ] [ 12 ]
Laughter has also been shown to have beneficial effects on various other aspects of biochemistry. For example, laughter has been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. When laughing the brain also releases endorphins that can relieve some physical pain. [ 13 ] Laughter also boosts the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T-cells, leading to a stronger immune system [ 14 ] .Causes
Late 19th century or early 20th century depiction of different stages of laughter on advertising cards
Common causes for laughter are sensations of joy and humor; however, other situations may cause laughter as well.
A general theory that explains laughter is called the relief theory. Sigmund Freud summarized it in his theory that laughter releases tension and "psychic energy". This theory is one of the justifications of the beliefs that laughter is beneficial for one's health. [ 15 ] This theory explains why laughter can be used as a coping mechanism when one is upset, angry or sad .
Philosopher John Morreall theorizes that human laughter may have its biological origins as a kind of shared expression of relief at the passing of danger. Friedrich Nietzsche. by contrast, suggested laughter to be a reaction to the sense of existential loneliness and mortality that only humans feel.
For example: a joke creates an inconsistency and the audience automatically try to understand what the inconsistency means; if they are successful in solving this 'cognitive riddle ' and they realize that the surprise was not dangerous, they laugh with relief. Otherwise, if the inconsistency is not resolved, there is no laugh, as Mack Sennett pointed out: "when the audience is confused, it doesn't laugh". This is one of the basic laws of a comedian. referred to "exactness". It is important to note that sometimes the inconsistency may be resolved and there may still be no laugh. Because laughter is a social mechanism, an audience may not feel as if they are in danger, and the laugh may not occur. In addition, the extent of the inconsistency (and aspects of it timing and rhythm) has to do with the amount of danger the audience feels, and how hard or long they laugh. This explanation is confirmed by modern neurophysiology in the study of laughter and the brain .
Laughter can also be brought on by tickling. Although it is found unpleasant by most people, being tickled often causes heavy laughter which is thought to be a reflex of the body, and is often uncontrollable. [ 16 ] [ 17 ]Human Laugh Structure and Anatomy
A normal laugh has the structure of “ha-ha-ha” or “ho-ho-ho.” It is unnatural, and one is physically unable to have a laugh structure of “ha-ho-ha-ho.” The usual variations of a laugh most often occur in the first or final note in a sequence- therefore, “ho-ha-ha” or “ha-ha-ho” laughs are possible. Normal note durations with unusually long or short “inter-note intervals” do not happen due to the result of the limitations of our vocal chords. This basic structure allows one to recognize a laugh despite individual variants. [ 18 ]
It has also been determined that eyes moisten during laughter as a reflex from the tear glands. [ 14 ]Negative aspects
Laughter is not always a pleasant experience and is associated with several negative phenomena. Excessive laughter can lead to cataplexy. and unpleasant laughter “spells”, excessive elation, and fits of laughter can all be considered negative aspects of laughter. Unpleasant laughter spells, or “sham mirth,” usually occur in people who have a neurological condition; including patients with pseudobulbar palsy. multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. These patients appear to be laughing out of amusement but report that they are feeling undesirable sensations “at the time of the punch line". Excessive elation is a common symptom associated with manic-depressive psychoses and mania /hypomania. Those who suffer from schizophrenic psychoses seem to suffer the opposite- they do not understand humor or get any joy out of it. A fit describes an abnormal time when one cannot control the laughter or one’s body- sometimes leading to seizures or a brief period of unconsciousness. Some believe that fits of laughter represent a form of epilepsy [ 19 ] .See also References Further reading
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Written for all who are interested in the mechanics of humor, Sweet Madness presents a general discussion and introduction to the roles of paradox, metaphor, and fantasy in humor. The operation of the implicit and the unconscious in humor; the importance of humor to human life; and the development, from childhood on, of the sense of humor are discussed. The background for this serious study is drawn from such fields as psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. William F. Fry, in this work, presents a new theory of the structure of humor based on the sometimes little understood psychological processes experienced by those who use humor or are exposed to humor. It is these relationships with other fields of study that allows for this investigation into the anatomy of humor. Fry, in this outstanding and erudite volume, takes a giant step in furthering our thinking about humor in transactional terms. Humor and a sense of humor are a vital part of human interactions, and as such, this book has much to contribute to the study of psychology, cultural, communications, and of coursehumor itself.
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America’s black market is much larger than we realize, and it affects us all deeply, whether or not we smoke pot, rent a risqué video, or pay our kids’ nannies in cash. In Reefer Madness the best.
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Murder By Madness 9/11 is not just the history of the most notorious attack upon American shores, it is a banking caper. Just who are the financiers of terrorism? As always, follow the money.
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H. P. Lovecraft was one of the greatest horror writers of all time. His seminal work appeared in the pages of legendary Weird Tales and has influenced countless writer of the macabre. This is one of t.
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The author shares advice and techniques that will help readers mimic their favorite Japanese comic book techniques, covering issues such as shading, perspective, and foreshortening, as well as Japanese terms and character types from within the style.
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Written for all who are interested in the mechanics of humor, Sweet Madness presents a general discussion and introduction to the roles of paradox, metaphor, and fantasy in humor. The operation of the implicit and the unconscious in humor; theMore Written for all who are interested in the mechanics of humor, Sweet Madness presents a general discussion and introduction to the roles of paradox, metaphor, and fantasy in humor. The operation of the implicit and the unconscious in humor; the importance of humor to human life; and the development, from childhood on, of the sense of humor are discussed. The background for this serious study is drawn from such fields as psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. William F. Fry, in this work, presents a new theory of the structure of humor based on the sometimes little understood psychological processes experienced by those who use humor or are exposed to humor. It is these relationships with other fields of study that allows for this investigation into the anatomy of humor. Fry, in this outstanding and erudite volume, takes a giant step in furthering our thinking about humor in transactional terms. Humor and a sense of humor are a vital part of human interactions, and as such, this book has much to contribute to the study of psychology, cultural, communications, and of course, humor itself. LessGet a copy Friends’ Reviews
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