Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity. --Joseph Addison

Why We Laugh

Why We Laugh

Mar 15, 2007-- Laughter, a topic that has baffled philosophers for 2,000 years, is finally yielding to science. Researchers have now traced the evolution of laughter back to an unexpected discovery: laughter has little to do with humor. Itís an instinctual survival tool for social animals, not an intellectual response to wit. In other words, itís not about getting the joke; itís about getting along. Researcher Robert Provine maintains that it's a largely involuntary process, and though people can consciously suppress laughs, few can make themselves laugh convincingly. In his words, "Laughter is an honest social signal because itís hard to fake [...] Itís a kind of behavioral fossil showing the roots that all human beings, maybe all mammals, have in common." (4716 reads)

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