Laughter – Humor and the Brain
Gelotology—the name of a new branch of science that studies the psychological and physiological effects of humor and laughter on the brain and the immune system. And studies proliferate! That’s a good thing.
Laughter is not relegated to humans only—it has been found among various animals. According to Phil Donahue, however, humans are the only creatures on this planet able to appreciate all the shadings of humor. It can be used to trigger laughter or laughter can simply be a choice. It’s not a sense of humor that provides myriad benefits to the brain and body, however. It’s laughter.
Remarkably variable, laughter may be better thought of as a broad class of sounds with relatively distinct subtypes, each of which may function somewhat differently in a social interaction.
It has been described as the most enjoyable form of human communication. There are likely as many variations as there are human beings who laugh. Some smile with barely a sound, others snort, guffaw, gasp, grunt, wheeze, flail, or double-over as tears fly from their eyes.
In whichever ways you describe laughter and however you get there, use it—and the Brain References related to the brain and laughter.