Laughter Studies


Laughter as a displacement activity: the implications for humor theory.
Basil Hugh Hall Bsc Zoology (Leic) June 2008
Abstract In this essay I hypothesize that laughing, along with crying, has evolved from a basic vocal "fight or flight" displacement activity. The circumstances in which displacement activities and laughing occur, and their general physiological effects, are compared, and neurophysiological evidence connecting laughter to "fight or flight" responses is presented. The relationship between laughter and humor is examined and an argument put forward against the use of the word "humor" other than as a heading of a general study. The nature of the basic conflicts that require animals and humans to indulge in displacement activities is considered in the context of joke structure, content and emotive effects. The endorphin/ laughter controversy is discussed and an explanation of laughter's immunological effects is given.

What’s So Friggin’ Funny?
Discover, July 2007.
We may be the only species on the planet that laughs together in such large groups, but we are not alone in our appetite for laughter. Not surprisingly, our near relatives, the chimpanzees, are also avid laughers.

Mind Matters: Laughter in the Lab, November 9, 2007
Research suggesting that laughter can relieve tension and burnout.

What makes us laugh - and why?
By Vicky Haddock, June 10, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle
But humor research remains a fast-growing area of inquiry, with neurologists mapping areas of the brain that oxygenate to register and respond to puns, slapstick and other forms of wit.

He Who Laughs Last Lives Longest
2002 Science & Spirit Magazine
After seven years, the participants who scored in the top quarter for humor appreciation were 35 percent more likely to be alive than those in the bottom quarter. The effect was more than twice as strong among a subgroup of participants who had a cancer diagnosis at the beginning of the study: Those who appreciated humor were 75 percent more likely to be alive.

Laughter, the best medicine.
By Varuna Verma, The Telegraph, January 1, 2006
We measured the stress levels of the employees before and after a laughter yoga session, says Kataria. The researchers found that stress levels reduced significantly after an hour of laughs and yogic exercise.

Why laughter is contagious.
Chortle, December 28, 2006
Researchers at University College London and Imperial College London have shown that just hearing a laugh triggers a response in the part of the brain that's also activated when we smile. It is, they say, as if hearing laughter prepares our facial muscles to laugh.

Laugh and be merry.
By Prof. Hugo Corretero Dios, June 19, 2007
The study concludes that there are no universally good or bad jokes for both women and men and points out that women have changed their humorous preferences.

Laughter increases altruism - unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
March 12, 2007 News-Medicine.Net
A new study from psychologists at the universities of Kent and Liverpool has revealed that laughter increases altruism towards strangers, a finding which may have important implications for charities and other fundraising bodies.

Laughter increases altruism - unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
March 12, 2007 News-Medicine.Net
The study revealed that after watching the funny clip subjects who laughed a lot were more likely to give their money to strangers. Further research suggests that this may be due to the effects of laughter on endorphins (naturally produced neurotransmitters that improve people's mood).


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