Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why do we laugh?

  1. Jun 15, 2005 #1
    I've never seen this discussion in a forum anywhere... but I'd really like to know if there is a scientific explanation for laughing. We seem to laugh on a daily basis and me, over the silliest of things. Simple controversial use of words can trigger laughing. But it always seems that something out of the ordinary is funny, even sadistic things. Like I saw a video of this cat's head get chopped off by a sunroof (fake don't worry) it sounds horrible yet watching made me crack up.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2005 #2
    We laugh because we outselves think the things we are watching are funny.
     
  4. Jun 15, 2005 #3

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    That misses the point of the question. Why do we have this particular physical reaction - a spasmodic exhalation - to finding something funny? I don't think science really knows. I don't think science has a good line on "funny" for that matter.
     
  5. Jun 15, 2005 #4

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    On its most general level, I'd say laughing is a tension-relief mechanism which can be set in motion by a variety of causes.
    That's a mere opinion, of course, no scientific fact.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2005
  6. Jun 15, 2005 #5
    Humans are the only known species to laugh, and its much more complex then most of us know. When something makes us laugh till we tear up, we're using 90% of our bodies muscles, and our brains fireing so many signals, that its hard to measure.
    It does make us feel better, and heal better after a trauma.
    We know we can't control laughing, its built into our nero/network, so it happens automatically. Babies start to laugh by the age of 4 months. So its also a form of communication.
    It has social aspects too....don't we all dread being laughed at?
    I would imagine there are many reasons why we laugh.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2005
  7. Jun 15, 2005 #6

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Ever heard about hyenas laughing..? :wink:
     
  8. Jun 15, 2005 #7
    lol, I was actually very close to a pack of them once, needless to say I didn't share there sense of humor.
    "ha ha ha lets eat the skinny girl"
     
  9. Jun 15, 2005 #8

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I was going to say, because we think something is funny.

    Actually, it has positive feedback in the cerebral neural circuits, IIRC dopamine release. It must do something positive, because we seem to prefer laughing to other alternatives. :biggrin:
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Why do we laugh?
  1. Why do we care (Replies: 2)

  2. Why do we stress? (Replies: 1)

  3. Why do people laugh (Replies: 24)

Loading...