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

Why people laugh?

  1. Jun 28, 2004 #1
    I don't know if this has been asked already, but does anybody why people laugh? For example, when you here a funny joke, you are inclined to laugh. Why is this? What meaning does laughter have? This also leads me to another question: What makes something funny?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2004 #2
    There are many theories of laughter.

    Judging by the standards of this message board, I can assure you that there will even be a genetico-racist explanation for laughter (something like: "whites invented laughter when they saw how miserable the blacks were doing").

    I hope that made you laugh. If it didn't, I'm black ;-)
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2004
  4. Jun 29, 2004 #3
    I wanted to take a course on behavioral psychology just to learn about this sort of thing, but I never did. Now I'm left pondering. Is there active research in this area?
  5. Jun 29, 2004 #4
    All I know is that laughter is contagious.
  6. Jun 30, 2004 #5
    Of course there is.

    But why would you take the road into laughter via behavioral psychology? There are many more approaches. Behavioral psychology is pretty boring, but that's my personal opinion.

    Why don't you start with a more deep, intellectually challenging route? That of social and cultural anthropology.

    They've written quite a lot about the meaning of laughter and how and why it works.

    Behavioral psychology is a very small branch of science, and not very self-relfective.
  7. Jun 9, 2005 #6
    New issue: I've heard the quote: "Research shows your body doesn't know the difference between a real smile and a fake one."
    Is there real science behind this?
  8. Jun 20, 2005 #7
    Laughter is a localised software reboot. Take a joke for instance. We hear it, its new, its got incongruity, we laugh. The brains software can't deal with the incongruity. The input/output IO map seems to be in error. The language process software reboots. Simple. The incongruity it still there. We have another reboot. Hence the cyclic nature of laughter. After a number of reboots the incongruity becomes less incongruous. Rebooting stops. Think about your computer experience. We need to think about the brain as a software device. It is a computer, it processes information. Can information be processed without software? DNA is software. We feel better after laughter because our ram held concerns have been weakened by the reboot. What else could be explained by bio-rebooting. What about stammering, epilepsy and the biggest reboot of all, the oohh orgasm. Can you count to three during an orgasm. No. Your brain is off-line to you. You could be on another planet. Thinking about the brain as a software device will open a new window to gaze through and look thoughfully upon the human condition. Why not get University Computer Science Departments brainstorming with the
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2005
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook