The science of why we laugh

why we laugh_brain cuddle

Laughter is a common human language. While different people around the world speak a different dialects, laughter is one common language that we all understand and develop as a kid. It is one of the actions that we perform unconsciously. we ever decide to laugh or plan our laughter sessions, but it happens very organically. This is also the reason it is very difficult to fake laugh, even if you try there are high chances you will get caught.

It provides a powerful, uncensored insight into our unconscious and simply bubbles out in certain situations.

While little is known about the brain mechanisms that cause laughter, what we know is that laughter triggers many sensations and thoughts, while also activating many parts of our body.

The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.

Mark twain

Laughter activation

During laughter, we change our facial expressions with a loud sound. During the exuberant laughter, the muscles of the arms, legs and trunks are involved too. It also modifies our breathing patterns. These are many reasons why laughter is considered a good medicine too.

In humans, the first laughter is usually seen at about 3.5 to 4 months of age, long before the kid can speak. Laughter, like crying, is a way for a preverbal infant to interact with the mother and other caregivers.

Why do we laugh?

Laughter is social and contagious, we never laugh when we are alone. While many believe that laughter is about what someone says or does, it is a depiction of your relationship with the other person.

Anything with the power to make you laugh over thirty years later isn’t a waste of time. I think something like that is very close to immortality.

Stephen King

Relationship building

So we know that laughter has societal benefits. It is a means through which we can let someone know that we want to interact with them. In fact, it was discovered that speakers in a conversation were 46 per cent more likely to laugh than listeners laugh in a study involving thousands of instances of laughter.

In addition, we laugh 30 times more frequently in groups. Even though they were equally likely to say that a cartoon was humorous whether they watched it alone or not, young children between the ages of 2.5 and 4 were found to be eight times more likely to laugh at it when they watched it with another child.

In a study that involved 966 participants from 24 different societies, researchers played brief sound clips of couples laughing together. The two people in question were strangers in some instances and close friends in others.

Participants in the study were tasked with determining the degree of friendship shared by the laughers by listening to their synchronised laughter. They could accurately distinguish between folks they had recently met and those who were lifelong friends based solely on the sound of the laughter. These findings imply that genuine laughter and friendship go hand in hand, and that pretending to laugh at someone else’s joke doesn’t deceive anyone.


Another hypothesis, which goes beyond the level of interpersonal connection that laughter fosters, is that laughing might take the place of grooming each other. In monkeys, grooming is a habit that is observed. To groom someone else is a kind, selfish gesture. The groomer and groomee become friends as a result of the time and trust required.

We couldn’t all go around grooming each other to form friendships as our communities grew larger. Therefore, this is no longer our recommended way to express a friendship offer. (And it’s probably for the best.) However, it’s difficult to fake laughter, at least not without being evident, just like it’s difficult to fake the commitment supplied through grooming.

Advantages of laughter

Laughter has a wide range of advantages for one’s physical health, according to the Mayo Clinic. Laughter can make you take in more oxygen, which helps energise your heart, lungs, and muscles. Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals produced by our bodies to make us happy and even relieve pain or stress, are released significantly more when we laugh. Laughter also has a relaxing and tension-relieving effect by first raising and then lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Through the production of neuropeptides that lower stress and the risk of illness, laughter can even strengthen our immune system response.
Therefore, laughter encourages cooperation, a necessary component of human existence, and it also signifies a healthier physique. That’s the finest justification I’ve heard for taking the time to have a few laughs over.