Humour and laughter

Funny Facts :D

  • Turtles can breathe through their butts
  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite
  • A snail can sleep for three years
  • An ant intoxicated will always fall to its right
  • A cockroach can live up to nine days without its head, before it starves to death
  • Elephants are the only animals that cant jump
  • The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off

Why Do We Laugh?

The reason we laugh can be because something is funny, but studies show that 80% of laughs weren't because something was funny, people would laugh at comments such as "it was nice meeting you", "ill see you later" something that shouldn't of caused laughter.This is because laughter was pre-dated before speech it is believed that our ancestors communicated through laughing before they were able to speak. And this is believable, just after birth,babys communicate with laughter and crying. We know how to laugh before we know how to speak, laughter isnt something that you learn it is something you are born with.

Laughter is Medicine:
laughter is known to be the best medicine for mind and body , laughter relief stress, reduce aging, help become more confident, help you sleep well, and leaves you in a positive mood/behaviour. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring happiness then a good laugh, humour lightens your burdens, keeps your grounded,connects you to others and inspires hopes.Therefore laughter is known to be the "best medicine"

Physical benefits:

  • It gives you relaxation
  • decreases muscle tention due to stress
  • decreases pain
  • increases oxygen in the front part of the brain, which makes you more productive
  • gives a natual boost of energy

Social benefits:
  • allows a positive way to deal with stressful things
  • gives you a new sense of shared purpose and direction
  • take yourself lightly
  • helps you bond with others

Mental health benefits:

  • distracts you from the stress
  • immediately improves your mood
  • allows you to bounce back quicker from distress
  • forces a positive broader perspective about stress

Meeting, Matching and Mating:
62% of females will mention a “good sense of humour as an interest in males. Males are more the source of the laughter. The more a female laughs the greater her interest in the man she is speaking to.The males are more interested in a woman that can laugh in their presence. The key to a good relationship is to let the woman laugh as much as possible

Facts about laughter
  • Laughter is 30 times more frequent in social than solitary situations. People are much more likely to talk to themselves or even smile when alone than to laugh. However happy we may feel, laughter is a signal we send to others and it virtually disappears when we lack an audience.
  • studies show that comments such as " how have you been" or "nice meeting you" are far more likely to precede laughter than jokes
  • Laughing 100 times has the same effect on the body as being on a rowing machine for 10 minutes or a stationary bike for 15 minutes
  • Children laugh about 400 times a day. Adults laugh an average of 15 times a day
  • Females laugh 126% more than males do there are also humor that a male laughs where a female would either shake their head or get angry.

Laughter is more contagious then a sneeze or a cough because when your around someone that is laughing you feel happy so you laugh too. Laughter is spontaneous and relatively uncensored. The brain responds to the sound of laughter and preps the muscles in the face to join in the mirth. We've known for some time that when we are talking to someone, we often mirror their behaviour copying the words they use and mimicking their gestures. Now we've shown that the same appears to apply to laughter.
:you see two people laughing, and without knowing the reason, you burst into laughter anyway.
Scientists have recently proven that laughter is indeed contagious: the brain responds to the sound of laughter and puts the rictus on your face

Put-Down Humour:
This aggressive type of humour is used to criticize and manipulate others through teasing, sarcasm and ridicule. Put-down humor, such as telling friends an embarrassing story about another friend, is a socially acceptable way to deploy aggression and make others look bad so you look good. When challenged on their teasing, the put-down joker often turns to the "just kidding" defense, allowing the aggressor to avoid responsibility even as the barb bites.

Bonding Humour:

People who use bonding humour are fun to have around; they say amusing things, tell jokes, and generally lighten the mood. These are the people who give humour a good name. They're perceived as warm, down-to-earth and kind, good at reducing the tension in uncomfortable situations and able to laugh at their own faults. Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres embraces her audience by sharing good-natured, relatable humor.

Hate-Me Humour:

In this style of humour you are the butt of the joke for the amusement of others. Often deployed by people eager to ingratiate themselves, it's the familiar clown or "fat guy" playfulness that we loved in John Belushi and Chris Farley—both of whom suffered for their success. A small dose of it is charming, but a little goes a long way: Routinely offering yourself up to be humiliated erodes your self-respect, fostering depression and anxiety.

Laughing at Life:

When we admire someone who "doesn't take himself too seriously," this is the temperament we're talking about. More than just a way of relating to other people. Someone with this outlook deploys humour to cope with challenges, taking a step back and laughing at the absurdities of everyday life. The columnist Dave Barry has perfected it with quips like this: "Fishing is boring, unless you catch an actual fish, and then it is disgusting."Studies that link a sense of humour to good health are probably measuring this phenomenon; when you have a wry perspective, it's hard to remain anxious or hostile for long. Martin calls it "self-enhancing humour " because you don't need other people to entertain you—if something peculiar or annoying happens, you're perfectly capable of laughing at it on your own.

Universal Traits of Humour

Why is it that some people experience humour in a particular situation, while others do not? When two people experience the same event and react differently, that difference is based on each individual’s unique perception.
While it is clear that ”sense of humour varies widely among individuals and groups, it is the presence of one or more of the universal characteristics of humour that make events more likely to be perceived as funny by the observer. Among the universal characteristics that may produce a humorous response are the experiences of:

A sense of humour can be defined as the ability to perceive one or more of the universal characteristics. Therefore, one’s sense of humour involves the capacity to appreciate incongruity, absurdity, an unexpected future, a pleasant surprise, a startle, getting it and/or emotional chaos remembered in tranquillity

When a stimulus is perceived as incongruous, it is likely to be experienced as humorous. Oxymorons (pairs of words that go together yet mean the opposite of each other) are often experienced as funny based on their incongruity. Examples include: jumbo shrimp, act naturally, working vacation, definite maybe, same difference, genuine imitation, etc.

Absurdity, Ridiculousness and Ludicrousness
A stimulus that results in some absurd, ridiculous, or ludicrous perception may be experienced as humorous. Simple exaggeration can be a particularly effective humorous stimulus.

The Unexpected Future
A stimulus may also be perceived as humorous when an expected future is replaced with an unexpected one. The more unexpected the event, the more likely it will be perceived as humorous. Often the punch line of a joke presents an unexpected future or result. Slapstick comedy is a common source of unexpected future, as are cartoons.

Pleasant Surprise
Another quality of a stimulus that may make it humorous is the presentation of a pleasant surprise. When we are mildly surprised or tricked, the experience may result in our feeling delighted. A surprise party, or receiving an unexpected gift, or finding a dollar bill on the ground all provide a pleasant surprise.
Businesses often use the “pleasant surprise” to promote their services. Examples include the sign on a plumbing repair truck that reads, “A flush beats a full house” or the sign on a muffler shop that says, “No appointment necessary. We will hear you coming.”

Being Startled
Being startled may also create a humorous response, if the stimulus is quickly perceived to be non-threatening. The television show “Candid Camera” is a classic example of the element of surprise and experiencing a startle that is quickly perceived as harmless. It was after the “star” of the Candid Camera prank heard those famous words, “Smile--you’re on Candid Camera” that the situation was quickly perceived as harmless and, along with a sense of relief, came the delight and amusement of the “victim.”

Getting It
For some individuals, it is not the incongruity, the surprise, or being startled that is funny, but it is simply the “getting it.” Sometimes it is the cognitive appreciation, or the joy of “solving” the twist in the situation that is experienced as humorous. We sometimes hear people exclaim, “I get it!” as an indicator of this discovery.

What Part of the Brain Laughter comes From

The brain’s right hemisphere appears to be important in appreciating humor. In particular, the frontal lobe processes cognitive tasks needed for us to get to the joke, including abstract interpretation of aspects of conversation such as irony, affective intonation, sarcasm, and innuendo. The frontal lobe is part of a wider neural circuit involved in controlling emotion. Many neural pathways connect it with the “emotional” part of the brain—that is, the limbic and hypothalamic systems.

Laughing disorders

Inappropriate laughter is often viewed as a form of emotional dysregulation. Our outer emotional expressions should be directly related to our inner mood and/or our thoughts. If we talk about something funny, we should be smiling and even laughing. If we talk about something sad, our facial expression should be sad. When we have emotional expressions that are unrelated to the situation, conversation, or mood at the time, our emotions are poorly regulated and controlled.

Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder” (IEED)

If laughing after every sentence, could probably be assumed as a form of anxious or nervous laughter. Normally shy and introverted folks who find themselves the center of conversational attention often become “giddy” with nervous laughter. It’s like their emotions are overloaded. If the laughter occurs automatically following each sentence (despite the mood or conversation involved) then it’s likely to be a neurological issue, OCD, or Tourette’s.

Neurological disorders can produce this condition. When there is a history of cerebral vascular accident (or stroke), especially in the frontal lobes of the brain, this can develop. Many neurological conditions that create structural damage to the brain can produce inappropriate laughter as an exterior symptom. Certain types of brain injury create an “organic smile” — a smile that never goes away and is present when the individual is resting. In rare cases, it can be a form of seizure disorder.

Disorders that have Hyphmania as a symptom, the individual will be too happy most of the time and will also be loud, hyperactive, attention-seeking, and overly energetic. A mood which could be related to the use of antidepressant medications.


Additional References/Notes