We laugh 20 times a day for different reasons. Why do we laugh? What is laughter and what are its benefits? I will try to answer these questions and analyze human laughter from a scientific point of view.
The history of laughter through the theory of evolution:
If we want to analyze laughter from an evolutionary perspective, we will find that the three chimpanzee families (human, chimpanzee and orangutan) have the characteristic of laughter. This indicates that laughter is an evolutionary characteristic shared by the great apes family Hominids and is inherited from a common ancestor about 14 million years ago.
Within the research of the theory of evolution, it is usually mentioned that intelligence and speech are among the most important characteristics that distinguish humans from other animals. This is true from a descriptive point of view for humans compared to the rest of the animals, except that humans were not intelligent and able to speak in the beginning, and there must be a factor that caused this development different from the rest of the great apes species. I will not go into the details of the natural factors that led to the development of man, but the main factor of human evolution is to stand on two legs
Standing on two feet is one of the fundamentals of the development of the human respiratory system, and thus the reason for the development of the larynx and speech. This information is important because it explains why humans laugh using the larynx, while chimpanzees and orangutans laugh through the guts. Laughter is an involuntary act related to the respiratory system, as the organism exhales intermittently in varying proportions with the issuance of a specific sound that can be distinguished by the rest of its family members as laughter.
Laughter differs between humans and the rest of the monkeys, as the person exhales from the throat area and is similar to the articulation mechanism, so a person cannot laugh and speak at the same time. As for chimpanzees and orangutans, they make sounds from the viscera. Standing on two legs compared to the rest of the great apes enabled him to develop the characteristic of speech and laughter, due to the removal of pressure from the lungs resulting from the use of the upper limbs. For example, a horse cannot breathe during a gallop, as the impact of its front limbs on the ground puts enormous pressure on the lungs. This phenomenon is very important in explaining the linguistic superiority of humans, and it is also important in explaining the different biological characteristics of laughter.
Laughing is very beneficial to the human body, as it reduces the proportion of stress hormones and secretes stimulating hormones for the body and useful for the immune system (endorphins). Laboratory tests indicate that the effects of the peak of laughter remain in the body for approximately 45 minutes. These effects stimulate the brain to work better and more effectively.
So, laughter in humans is an involuntary act that results from a certain mental state that stimulates the process of intermittent exhalation “haha.” Laughter affects 18 facial muscles and sometimes causes tear secretions.
One of the conditions of human laughter is that it comes at the end of vocal sentences because it is not possible to pronounce and laugh at the same time. For example, we will not find the phrase “Abu Hahahaha al-Abd” because this is considered biologically impossible due to the limited ability to control the throat during laughter. With regard to the types of sounds related to natural laughter, they have different types, such as “ha ha ha” or “hee hee hee” or “hohoho”, but we will not find laughter that mixes these types such as “hee ha ha ha ha ho” because the process is the process of one intermittent exhalation frequency.
The social aspect of laughter is the most important, as we laugh 30 times more when other people are with us, which indicates that laughter is a means of social media. Laughter is linked to special neurons that are directly stimulated in the event of another case of laughter being detected, which makes laughter contagious. Most of the time we laugh not because of a comic situation, but because of a nervous brain reaction when we hear the sound of laughter.
What is the point of laughter from the perspective of evolution?
The primal laughter hypothesis:
Monkeys are social animals that live in groups regulated by instinctive laws to ensure cohesion within the group. We know that monkeys take turns cleaning themselves, and the cleaning process involves touching areas that may be sensitive. And because monkeys are social animals that are unable to live alone, evolutionarily there must be communication mechanisms that work to reassure the members of the group. Laughter is a communication mechanism between these animals that says, “Even though your behavior may seem hostile towards me, I know we are playing.”
The process of communication in social groups is very important in group cohesion so that all parties know that what is going on is a friendly process and not hostile.
if one of the monkeys wants to play or get close to another monkey, the receiving monkey does not know what the intentions of the first monkey are. Is it hostile intent or does he really want to play? Playing is a favorite thing among animals, but a way to announce these intentions must be evoked. From here I address the issue of tickling, which explains this characteristic more clearly.
Tickle is a hostile act towards a person, but this hostile act is not intended to harm, but rather to play. That is why we laugh when being tickled involuntarily, and sometimes we hate being tickled, but we keep laughing, why? Because laughter here is a communication mechanism that tells the other party, “I understand that you do not want to harm me, and I, in turn, will not harm you.” That’s why we don’t laugh when we tickle ourselves because we already know we don’t intend to hurt ourselves. We also know that it is a very bad idea to initiate tickling strangers whom we do not know because they do not know our true intention and they will not laugh if we tickle them. On the contrary, they may confront us in a hostile manner.
1. Laughter is an involuntary act of communication that symbolizes peaceful intentions towards others
2. All chimpanzees have the characteristic of laughing when being tickled
3. Only humans have the concept of “humour” I will talk about in the post
4. Laughter is linked to brain properties that make it contagious within Group
5. Laughter has biological benefits that make it desirable and associated with the reward department of the brain (repeat this)
Before ending this paragraph, I want to point out that rats and dogs laugh when they are tickled. Within the scientific experiments on the “science of laughter,” the sound vibrations of dogs’ laughter were recorded and then repeated through the recorder, so the dogs acted on the basis that it was time to play and actually started playing with each other, which supports the hypothesis that laughter in its primitive form means declaring peaceful intentions towards others And a sign of positive feedback on the body.
Laughter and laughter in humans:
If I ask you to laugh, you cannot force yourself to laugh because it is an act of reflex. Man is a social being who lives in groups, and laughter is considered one of the positive incentives in the group. Most of the time we laugh is an involuntary reaction to hearing the sound of laughter and not because we faced a funny situation. You can try this claim by watching (Top 10 clips of children laughing times magnificence) within the attached links with the references and you will discover that you must smile or laugh as an involuntary reaction.
So, laughter is contagious, and that is why in comic series they mean to add sounds of laughter after every joke to motivate us to laugh. We know that laughter is an involuntary act, but if we ask two people to look at each other’s faces and then try to laugh, they can do so on the pretext that that person is funny. But the main reason is due to the roots of social laughter.
Humor and laughter in humans
It is necessary to mention that the previous description of the instinct of laughter explains the primitive roots of laughter, and when we evaluate laughter in humans, this characteristic has developed and taken on other dimensions, but it is still within the framework of the basic instinct of the great chimpanzees.
What is Humor:
Have you ever asked yourself why I find this situation funny? What are the terms of humor?
One of the most important conditions for humor is to create a mental image for a person that is based on realistic logical facts, but in the context of the image, the logic is suddenly violated. Provided that this mental image does not constitute a deep harm to the active person within the mental image, and that the time and place of the funny act is relatively far from the person imagining the mental image.
Let’s analyze this definition:
A mental image is just an idea, this idea to become funny must be based on several factors:
– Logic and reality for the person
– a sudden unexpected element that contradicts the logical context of events.
A place and a time, and I am far from the psychological effects of the accident.