How Does Laughter Operate?

Pervasiveness of Laughter

Laughter has been considered one of the primitive emotions recognized in every culture. Of all the different emotional expressions, laughter is one of the few that adults who have been deaf and blind from birth can generate. Although we all have moments of solitary experience, laughter is predominantly a social phenomenon that has its roots both in early human development and also early in the development of our species.

Thinking of Others

We like to laugh and make others laugh. Not only does laughter have a multitude of benefits in terms of coping with stress and illness, but it works to bind individuals together in social coalitions. It is a deeply emotional response activated by the emotional regions of the amygdala and associated with brain networks, but it operates in conjunction with higher-order processes related to social cognition — thinking about others.


The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity
Bruce Hood

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