The Kid Should See This

What is laughter?

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When was your last really good laugh? What made you laugh? What is laughter? Are we the only primates or mammals that laugh? What in our evolutionary history made laughing so important? What’s the difference between real and fake laughter? How do our friends make laughing better? And why does laughing take over our bodies?

“When you laugh, your abdominal muscles contract rapidly. This alters your breathing patterns, increasing the pressure in your chest cavity, and pushing air out, which might audibly emerge as a snort, wheeze, or vocalization.”

abdominal muscles

“Because you’re exerting your abdominal muscles much more than you usually would while talking, they may start to hurt. Laughter also inhibits your reflexes and muscle control, causing sensations like leg weakness.”

Laughter can be a reaction to surprise, nerves/anxiety, or as a way to diffuse tension and discomfort, but it’s also a powerful social tool for sharing amusement. Laughter builds connections and can also be contagious, contributing positively to group dynamics.

friends laughing together
Learn the neuroscience, psychology, biology, evolutionary biology, and sociology behind laughter. This TED-Ed by Sasha Winkler, directed by Hanna Rybak, explores this complex social behavior, an act that primarily serves as a joyful expression in various contexts, including play, camaraderie, and shared emotions.

animals being vocal
Fun fact: There are also at least 65 species of animals that also communicate vocally during play.

studying a rat
Watch these related videos about laughter next:
β€’Β How To Stop Yourself Being Ticklish
β€’Β A laughing contest for chickens
β€’ The β€œLaughing” Kookaburra
β€’Β Donald O’Connor performs Make β€˜Em Laugh

Bonus: Four-year-old LΓ©a’s first aerobatic flight with her pilot father.

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