1. Laughter is universal. It occurs in every culture across the world.
2. Laughter is an unconscious behaviour. When we try to make ourselves laugh it sounds unnatural and fake. We just can’t force ourselves to laugh on command.
3. We may smile or giggle briefly on our own but, as a general principle, laughing is something we do with others. In fact, research indicates that we laugh 30 times more with others than alone.
4. Laughter is contagious. As soon as babies can smile and laugh, they copy the smiling and laughter of others. That trait continues throughout our lives.
5. Laughter is not actually about humour. It has more to do with social bonding. It is estimated that only 20% of laughter is due to hearing something funny.
6. We typically laugh at the end of a sentence rather than part way through.
7. Humans are not the only animals to laugh. There are even videos of rats laughing in response to being tickled.
8. In groups, the person who is speaking typically laughs twice as often those who are listening.
9. Women laugh twice as often as men.
10. Laughter is related to social status. The higher your position in a group, the less often you laugh.
For more information see: Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, by Robert Provine, 2001.
August 25, 2012
Some facts on laughter
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