Who doesn’t love laughing? It either means you’re in a good mood or your mood is improving. Laughter can make you feel better when you’re sad, make something not seem as bad, or maybe remove embarrassment. But what is the science to laughter? Why do we do it? Is it important?


For starters, we’re 30 times more likely to laugh when interacting with others versus when we’re alone. This tells us that laughter is social. Believe it or not, we’re not the only animal who laughs. In fact, chimps and rats do it too! It’s a mammal thing. What’s interesting, is that by looking at other animals in addition to humans, we’re able to see different kinds of laughter. We see one type while they play versus when they’re being tickled. In humans, we see can tell a difference between a real laugh and a posed laugh. There’s that laugh we do when we get that social cue and then there’s that laugh we can’t control when something is extremely funny. We can hear that difference in pitch or in breathing. that’s the difference between a voluntary laugh and involuntary laugh. The involuntary, real, laugh actually contracts our ribcage and pushes out air in a way we can’t make ourselves do. The way we fake laugh is also not usually what happens naturally when we laugh uncontrollably. That’s why we spot those fake laughs.


A study shows how our brain responds when we hear a fake or real laugh. When we hear a real laugh, the auditory processing part of the brain gets activated. We process this complex sound. But when we hear a fake laugh, a different part of the brain lights up that’s more responsible for thinking and making sense of things. That has something to do with trying to figure out why someone is laughing (we’re thinking about it) versus when hearing someone crack up hysterically can be contagious.


Our ability to differentiate a fake and real laugh develops as we get older. And interestingly, we laugh more when hearing laughter when we’re younger. Hopefully we’re not just getting grouchier as we age, but perhaps this tells us because we understand laughter more as we get older, we need to hear more to get us laughing.


In terms of gender, females laugh much more than men – 126% more than men! We can see this in everyday life – the guy making the girl laugh, more male comedians than females, class clowns usually being a boy. Males tend to instigate humor more than females. This also explains why majority of women seek a man with a “great sense of humor” when dating.


Couples who are able to laugh TOGETHER during stressful times and conversations report to have happier and more successful relationships. There’s a social phenomenon that happens when a couple is able to laugh together that strengthens them. It’s a sign of a healthy relationship when the woman laughs.


Ever heard of the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” It’s even mentioned in the bible and some ancient cultures. Not only does it put us in a happier mood, making us feel better, but it improves our physical health too. It gets our heart rate and blood pressure going. Our brain is activated in a way that reduces stress hormones and boosts our immune system.


Get together with friends or family, watch some comedy, get those giggles going and be the healthy happy person you’re meant to be. If you’re struggling to find things funny or interesting, not able to laugh at anything, contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with a medical professional who can help you find things funny again.