All This Time You Have Been Laughing But Did You Wonder Why?

    Why Do People Laugh
    Why Do People Laugh

    Humans are fragile creatures made up of different emotions and traits, the components vary individual to individual giving every single being uniqueness. Fun is one of the mental conditions and it leads us to laugh at something we find amusing or laugh-worthy however how on the earth you decide what to laugh at? How does human brain conclude something to be funny signaling to crack a laugh or two? The question “what makes us laugh” may seem simpler yet it is complex as hell. If we had asked you the same thing you would have said you laugh because you find it funny? Why funny and why not sorrowful? Well, we’ll find out soon. Let us start by telling you that recently scientists discovered that laughter is not only limited to human beings only.

    We often associate laughter with humor so let us start by the definition of humor: Humor is said to be the quality of being amusing or comic, expressed as literature or speech. Now the definition definitely didn’t help, did it? Well, if you thought you laughed because you read a joke to be funny and because everything is funny, you are completely wrong. In fact, laughter has only a very little to do with funny. Although it is an unconscious process and no one can consciously begin laughing. There are theories explaining the mystery behind laughter and one of the psychological theory says that people find things to be funny due to benign violations probably it of the reasons why it is named ‘Benign Violation Theory.’ For instance, you got a chance to deliver a speech at some celebration in your office and you speak about your achievements while saying ‘ i wanna thanks my parents for what I am today especially to my mom and dad,’ (its old I know) now it violated people’s sense of how the world should work and when those two senses met, others laughed.

    That didn't go well
    That didn’t go well

    Research conducted by profound laughter expert Robert Provine brought a whole different scenario, he found out that people didn’t laugh at jokes more but at the situations and normal conversation was being more laughable. Simpler concluding sentences such as ‘is she your girlfriend in this photo, I thought it was some stray monkey’ or ‘are you are dating within your species’ or Hey John! Long time no see, huh, gave more laughter compared to jokes.’ If you made this far and reading it, you might as well be thinking what’s there to laugh at? Now, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you and your bestie burst out laughing at nothing and yet you guys laughed so hard that it actually hurt? You bet you did. Mr. Robert also denoted that just like yawning, laughter, too, is infectious leading us to join the hilarity when someone else is laughing.

    That what people generally say Chemistry
    That what people generally say Chemistry

    The question still stands firm, what makes us laugh? It goes way back to the period when human evolution started. The region in the brain that controls response of laughter is situated in depths of subcortex which is known to be ancient, its the same area that controls basic actions like breathing. Human laughter is believed to be evolved just like people themselves only the literal laugh wasn’t what we now socially deliver or write ‘hahaha’ or ‘hehehe’ but it was more of panting then. Chimps and Gorillas are observed to be panting when tickled. Same goes with a human baby, they don’t go hahaha. Studies have revealed that laughing has something to do with bonding socially also. Various animals in the wild produce vocal sounds while playing or tumbling, same goes with a rat, they produce pitched squeaking noise when at play or tickled. It nowhere resembles human laughing, it, nonetheless, is.

    Chimps panting when tickled
    Chimps panting when tickled

    So, one thing for sure, all the beings laugh to socialize and strengthen their bonds. Another theory, probably the oldest one among humor theory, is Superiority Theory. Contribution by Aristotle and Plato suggested that people laugh due to their superior feel. ‘There’s this viral video on the internet where a man scares a moose that came charging at him and his female companion, the video gained over 3 million views and people who watched it laughed at the dumbness of the moose’. Thomas Hobbes, author of Leviathan mentioned in his book that any situation that makes you realize you are better than your direct competition results in humor. Remember when a man punched kangaroo to save his dog and the matter was resolved with violence and yet it was funny enough? That’s also one of the brilliant examples of superiority theory.

    We meant no disrespect, of course
    We meant no disrespect, of course

    Human brain triggers laughter even when something unexpected happens or more of a surprise event. This phenomenal theory got named ‘Incongruity Theory,’ it proposes that people would find things to be humorous when things turn out to be different than what was expected. During a movie or a show, have you ever been in a situation where you eagerly waited in anticipation for what’s gonna happen next and Boing! For instance, Scary Movie, the story is filled with the surprising turnout of the incidents, you might get a laugh or two during the movie.

    So many theories trying to define what might be causing the laughter yet we still don’t know what makes us crack? All these tested theories do tell us about the effects but nothing solid for what in the brain triggers it, what we are looking for are the answers just like in the case when we feel happy or sad.

    I'm surprised but should I laugh?
    I’m surprised but should I laugh?

    Eventually, failing to discover any appropriate answer, it was then concluded that thousand years of evolution fitted this laughter deep into our brain, making people laugh when they feel like so or when they want socially fitted. Hence, it answered few of our questions like why do we crackle or what part triggers it.

    Is Laughing any better or good for us?

    There’s a common phrase spread around that laughter is the best medicine but is it?

    The process of laughing helps you relieve the tension and stress in the body making you more calm and relaxed, it reduces stress hormones level in the body and raising the good feeling hormone level i.e. endorphins. That is why you feel cheerier after a good laugh and when you asked is it good for health, how about deciding it yourself as 15 minutes of laughter burns over 40 calories, isn’t it a nicer way to lose weight.

    Good way to release stress and feel calmness
    Good way to release stress and feel calmness

    Laughing has health benefits too, it increases T cells, responsible for the immune system, in the body and those who are lazy enough to carry any physical exercise must laugh, it equals to cardio workout and improves heart condition. And a shared laugh mends damage within relationships and lets you feel good about everything. Sufficient reason to pop something you find funny and watch it for your own good, don’t you think?

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