Physiology Of Laughter Essay

1673 words - 7 pages

Laughter is unique movements of the face and body that are expressed due to amusement and sometimes contempt or derision. (Websters) But do we not need more than that? Do we not deserve to know more? Of course. Although laughter is something that we don’t ever really think about doing, it still requires a lot of our brain, lungs, and muscles. Laughing’s medical definition is a psycho-physiological reflex, a successive, rhythmic, spasmodic expiration with open glottis and vibration of the vocal chords often accompanied by a baring of teeth and facial grimaces. (Nieder, 2014). It simply means that no matter what happens, we can’t control laughter. It’s an involuntary impulse. In fact, ...view middle of the document...

But what goes on in the brain when we laugh?
Of course, we all know that the brain is one of our major organs and our brains are always in use, but what goes on in the brain when we laugh? The study of laughter and the affects it has on the body is called gelotology. Although laughter may come easy and natural to us, our body has to go through a rather complex process. We don’t know much, but researchers have done studies that have shown that laughter is caused by many parts of the brain. These researchers have done many tests by hooking subjects up to an electroencephalograph (EEG). An EEG is a record of the our brain’s electrical activity. (2013, Babylon) When doing these tests, researchers realized that the brain made the same continuous electrical pattern. The subjects were then shown something that was funny. Not even five-tenths of a second after the subject saw the joke, an electrical waved moved through the cerebral cortex. This part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, determines intelligence, determines personality, motor functions, planning and organization, and touch sensation. Laughter would result after the wave would take a negative charge. However, if the wave took a positive charge, the subject wouldn’t give a response. During the experiments, they found out many wonderful things. Such as, the left side of the cortex studied the words and the context of the joke. While doing so, the part of the brain that takes part in social emotion responses known as the brain’s frontal lobe, became very active. However, to get or understand the joke, the right hemisphere of the cortex had to carry out an intellectual survey. All of the these steps go into the brain activity. It is spread to the optic lobe, the sensory processing area. The optical lobe is also the part of the brain that process visual signals. But to physically laugh, electrical waves have to stimulate the motor section. Thus, allowing us to physically show amusement. Fortunately, research is not even close to being over. With new improvements in technology, researchers plan on uncovering more and more of the mystery behind laughter on the brain.
Whenever we laugh, the brain’s limbic system is being put to work more than any other part of the brain. The limbic system is essential to life of mammals in many ways, such as finding food and protection. It’s a series of network of complex brain structures that are located underneath the cerebrum and on both sides of the thalamus. The limbic system was not first found in earlier mammals, but rather in that of ancient organisms like alligators. However in alligators, the limbic system is extremely involved in smell, defending their territory, and eating. Unlike alligators, in humans the limbic system is more involved with movement and emotional behavior. However, in humans, the main areas that contribute to emotions are an extremely small, sea horse structured called a hippocampus and an almond-shaped structure that is deep inside...

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