When you learn these interesting trivia facts about laughter, you might be amazed to find out how important it is for human beings.
1. Humans were able to laugh before they spoke.
Scientists believe that humans related to each other by laughing, long before they were able to use verbal language. It took the evolution of lung strength and breath control for humans to develop speech. Babies are able to laugh when they are as young as 17 days old. Even blind and deaf children have the capacity for laughter.
2. Laughter is not always related to humour.
Robert R. Provine, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, explains that only about 10% of laughter is related to a joke. Provine stated, “Laughter really has a bonding function between individuals in a group.”
3. Other species are able to laugh.
Interestingly, scientists have identified that many primates, and even rats, are able to laugh. Penny Patterson, president of the Gorilla Foundation, stated the Koko, the famous gorilla who used sign language, even developed different types of laughter for people she was familiar with.
4. Laughter improves relationships.
Couples who are able to laugh together are more likely to stay together. A study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, explored how couples handled stressful situations, finding that those who handled the situation with humour were more likely to stay together and reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction than those who tended to be more serious.
5. Laughing controls our brains.
It’s difficult not to smile when you hear or see people laughing. This is because our brains are programmed to connect to the laughter, according to Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at University College London, who monitored the brains of subjects while they listened to laughter. She concluded that the premotor cortical region of the brain was activated, and led to laughter.
6. Laughing burns calories.
It might not be terribly strenuous, but laughing for 10-15 minutes each day can burn up to 40 calories. A study conducted at Vanderbilt University found that laughing increased heart rates and oxygen consumption, which led to increased metabolism and calorie-burning.
7. Laughter really is the best medicine.
Again and again, research shows the many health benefits of laughter. Laughing improves memory in aging adults, increases blood flow, improves immunity, regulates blood sugar, and helps to improve sleep.
8. Laughter may be genetic.
You may get your sense of humour from your family. A study conducted at Northwester University examined over 300 people and found that a certain group, specifically those who carried the gene 5-HTTLPR short version were more likely to laugh at cartoons or funny movie scenes than those carrying the long version of the gene. This is a gene that has been correlated with depression, and scientists are now looking at the positive effects connected to this gene.
Claudia M. Haase, the study co-author, stated, “People with short alleles may flourish in a positive environment and suffer in a negative one. While people with long alleles are less sensitive to environmental conditions.”
Whether or not you find this information funny, it’s no joke that laughter is good for us!