Laughter at the Royal Society, 3-8 July 2012

laughter (Photo credit: withrow)

Prof. Sophie Scott has more laughter science for you, this time at the normally quite serious Royal Society. As part of the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition running from 3-8 July 2012.

Here’s what they have to say about it.

Laughter is a strong, positive vocal expression of emotion, which is found throughout human cultures and also in many mammals. Although you might think of laughter as something people do when they hear jokes, in fact we laugh most often when we are talking with our friends. Indeed, for both rats and humans, laughter first appears in babies when they interact with their caregivers.

Laughter is a social emotion, and it is physically contagious. This can be detected in people’s brains when they listen to laughter. Scientists have found that the brains of people who are good at distinguishing different kinds of laughs show a greater tendency to join in with the laughter they hear

Laughing Brains


The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition showcases the most exciting cutting-edge UK science and technology. 3-8 July 2012, London

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Welcome to the Baby Laughter project

The laughter of tiny babies is not just a phenomenally popular theme for youtube videos, it is also a fantastic window into the workings of the human brain. You can’t laugh unless you get the joke. We believe that studying early laughter in detail will throw new light on the workings of babies’ brains, as well as offering new insights into the uniquely human characteristic that is humour.  We aim to research just what makes babies laugh by conducting the largest ever global survey of early laughter.

Please follow this blog to keep updated on our progress.