03 Apr Laughter, what a curious thing!
Everybody laughs. With a good joke. Watching a movie. Listening to a funny anecdote. Some even say they laugh because they don’t cry. Laughter is one of the most genuine manifestations of the human being. It’s part of our daily lives, like eating and breathing, and yet how much do you know about laughter? We’ll tell you some curiosities!
First of all, what is laughter? From a biological point of view, laughter occurs when the epiglottis constricts the larynx. Scientists consider laughter as a response to certain stimuli, a manifestation of joy or inner well-being. It is also a way of transmitting emotions, of communicating with other people, so it plays an essential role in the development of human relationships.
When we laugh, fifteen facial muscles contract and the zygomatic muscle is constantly stimulated. The left region of the brain is in charge of analyzing the events that make us laugh and the right frontal hemisphere is in charge of the physical movements and the characteristic sound of laughter. Every time we hear someone laugh, the brain activates certain neuronal circuits related to laughter, which makes us laugh. That’s why laughter is said to be contagious.
Can one die laughing?
It’s difficult, but it can happen. A philosopher named Crisopo is known to have died of laughter in the third century B.C. when he saw a donkey drunk on wine, and in 1989 a Danish ENT died while watching the film “A Fish Called Wanda”. Scientists explain that when we laugh, an area of the brain related to the “flight mechanism” is activated, which in turn releases adrenaline, a substance that in large quantities can be toxic.
And why do we sometimes cry with laughter?
There are two theories and both are valid. One says that the tears are a sign that the organism is returning to normal after a great emotion such as a burst of laughter. The other theory states that the tremors produced by laughter oppress the tear ducts and produce crying. In any case, those tears are related to a positive sensation and make us feel more relaxed and happy.
We’re not the only ones laughing!
But we’re not the only ones laughing. Higher primates, like gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans, also do. In fact, it’s a behavior we inherited from our common ancestors 16 million years ago. Laughter came before words, as a means of communication between the individuals of each species. What happens is that over time we humans have been refining laughter, keeping it as a game or a way of expressing joy or happiness. Because laughter is above all a means to maintain and strengthen social and family ties.
Did you know all these curiosities? As always, from Geniova we encourage you to take care of your teeth so that you can laugh out loud with complete confidence.
By the way, one last curiosity, did you know that the discipline that studies the effects of laughter on the organism is called Gelotology?
And laughter is very serious!