What happens when we laugh? When listening to a joke, the kind that makes you burst out laughing, a series of vocal sounds are produced in the mouth that last 1/16 second and repeat every 1/15 second. While the sounds are being made, air is rushing out of the lungs at over 100 km/h.
A laugh causes heart rate to accelerate, blood pressure to rise, and pupils to dilate.
Adults laugh on average 20 times a day, and children up to ten times more. Laughing is so inherent to human existence that we forget how interesting these sudden bursts of joy are.
Why we humans laugh
According to the Hungarian writer Arthur Koestler (1905-1983), laughter is a luxurious reflex that has no biological utility.
However Nature does not invest in something useless, it is believed that the impulse to laugh may have contributed to survival in the course of evolution.
Gelotology, which researches laughter, points out that laughter is the oldest form of communication.
Language centers are located in the more recent cortex, and laughter originates from an older part of the brain, responsible for emotions such as fear and joy. This is why laughter escapes conscious control. You cannot have a good laugh on command, much less can you suppress it.
Laughter can have a physical, cognitive and emotional aspect. This does not reduce the sense of humor to a single region of the brain.
Laughing, finding something funny, is a complex process that requires several stages of thought.
Laughter is the best medicine. At least that’s how the old saying goes. And indeed: when we laugh, we loosen tense muscles, our bodies are supplied with an extra portion of oxygen, and we even burn a few calories.
Is it important to you that you laugh every day?
I think laughter comes from a cheerful mood. And that is very important to me. I’m not going to sit there and count how often I laugh. But I would like to be in a good mood as often as possible.
But laughter is supposed to be so healthy.
Well, it’s certainly not harmful. But it is said again and again that laughing makes us release happiness hormones, makes us feel healthier or even makes us healthier. But there is almost no scientific evidence for this. Rather, I believe it’s the sense of humor and good humor that does us good. Laughing is also important, of course, because it shows others that we are well and cheerful. But in the end, it’s just the effect of our good mood.
So is good humor more important to us than laughter itself?
I simply don’t think it makes sense to laugh frantically as often as possible. It’s better to try to get through the day in the best possible mood and take misfortune with humor. After all, laughing doesn’t necessarily mean we are truly happy. We also laugh because we are embarrassed or insecure. Often we do not laugh sincerely, but only out of politeness.
How can I tell if my conversation partner is really laughing or just pretending?
It’s best to look at the eyes. If someone is laughing honestly, then the eyes are also laughing. For example, when someone is laughing artificially, there are usually no laughter lines around the eyes; only the corners of the mouth move upward. The eyes remain motionless.