Laughter: Love, Joy, and Language

– What happens during laughter? It has to do with breathing, as neuroscientist Sophie Scott explains, as well as emotions, and the voice. Studying the mechanisms of laughter, she discovered it’s a social, universal expression not just in humans but even chimpanzees and rats. Brain scans revealed the areas of the brain active during laughter (interestingly, similar to yawning, another socially contagious expression). Her lab also examined polite, posed laughter vs. uncontrollable mirth, and revealed how we tell the difference.