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What Happens When We Laugh

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.

What Happens When We Laugh

Sandra Kiume

Sandra Kiume is a mental health advocate from Vancouver, Canada, and the founder of @unsuicide. Along with maintaining Channel N, she contributes to World of Psychology.

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APA Reference
Kiume, S. (2012). What Happens When We Laugh. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from


Last updated: 30 Apr 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2012
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