The Science Behind Laughing And Its Different Forms
The laughter does not appear in any other species except for mankind. Among other things that differentiate us from the animal kingdom, we, as humans, laugh often. So why do we do it, and how does it affect us? Let’s see what scientists have to say about that.
A boost for the body
Considering that whatever an animal does is involved somehow in the survival and reproduction of the individual or the species, something as common as laughter has to be vital for our function. Indeed, doctors claim that we increase the oxygen we take when we laugh. This oxygen enters our lungs and helps to stimulate all muscles, including the heart. In addition, it releases endorphins that are used to reduce pain. It is considered to even reduce the stress levels in our bodies and support the immune system. The body can’t lie; if something is good for you in any normal or strange way, you simply do it. It is, therefore, pointed out that a variety of positive outcomes have made us adopt this communication style up to now.
Laughter as a social phenomenon
Still, the answer to why we adopted this particular kind of behavior is not answered. Up to now, we know it’s good for our bodies, but we can’t explain how we chose this kind of activity to benefit ourselves. An interesting scientific theory supports that laughter had its source many years ago. Our ancestors, monkeys, used to take the small insects out of each other’s hair. Additionally, other primates, like lions, lick each other’s faces to clear the blood when they finish eating an animal they have hunted. These kinds of acts often met in animals are called grooming and are a great way to express closeness and love between one another. Grooming is a one-sided act, and this is why it expresses generosity. One person sacrifices their own time to help someone else. Trust and time are invested, sealing the friendship between the giver and receiver.
Why did we replace what we already had?
Laughter has the great advantage that it does not only have to take place between two people, but on the other hand, it can involve a large group of people, allowing them to bond all together at once. This is very useful for animals like humans. Humans are very social and like to interact in large groups. It is, therefore, ideal for large communities. Besides, laughter is something we cannot fake. It is a clear sign that we feel comfortable and that the friendship is genuine. It is also a way to show that we feel we belong. Let’s face it, laughter is our thing, and we love it.
The PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA) and why it happens
Laughing can get quite complex, and it takes many forms. Things get awkward when someone laughs without reason and in a way that is not satisfying for them. PBA is a case where people can laugh and also cry uncontrollably and inappropriately when no clear reason can cause this reaction. It appears to people with certain brain injuries or neurological conditions that affect the centers that control emotions. However, in many cases, we can see people and, more often, kids that may laugh randomly and simply can’t stop. They may not suffer from any kind of disorder; still, there is a part of the behavior they cannot control.
In most cases when laughter takes place when it shouldn’t, like in the middle of a ceremony or an official event. The embarrassment people experience makes them want to laugh even more, creating pleasant and unpleasant feelings. Psychologists believe this is a phenomenon caused by to release of stress. As stated before, laughter is an excellent way to reduce anxiety. In cases where people experience a lot of stress during certain periods, they may develop this reaction. The funny thing is that because this is an unpredictable situation, the fear of losing control increases, and so is stress for as long as this reaction takes place.
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