Sometimes you laugh at a joke, but even more often you laugh at the person who says it. That is the conclusion of Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at University College London and part-time stand-up comedian, who has been studying laughter her entire career.
According to Sophie laughter is often used as a form of social bonding to show someone that we like them. While conducting a study, Scott and her team played a group of indigenous Namibians recordings of people talking in English and then made a group of English people listen to a bunch of Namibians. The two groups then had to choose between a set of emoticons what emotions were displayed in the recordings.
The most recognizable among the emoticons was the laughter. What Scott noticed was that people not only laugh at other people’s jokes, they also laugh at the things they themselves say. The neurologist then concluded that laughter is pretty much a social emotion that helps people bond more easily as it represents us as more positive. It can also show that you understand someone, or that you agree with him.
What’s more important, it can prompt you to share more about yourself with another person. Sharing a laugh with someone can indicate you like them.
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