This post is just for laughs. No really. It’s a very entertaining 17 minute talk by cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott. She talks about why and how we laugh, why it’s contagious and some of the social cues and functions of laughter. She talks about one study in which couples are faced with stressful conversations, noting the role that laughter plays:
What he finds is that the couples who manage that feeling of stress with laughter, positive emotions like laughter, not only immediately become less stressed, they can see them physically feeling better, they’re dealing with this unpleasant situation better together, they are also the couples that report high levels of satisfaction in their relationship and they stay together for longer. So in fact, when you look at close relationships, laughter is a phenomenally useful index of how people are regulating their emotions together. We’re not just emitting it at each other to show that we like each other, we’re making ourselves feel better together.
In addition to stress reduction and bonding, laughter can also be very therapeutic – see our prior post on the healing properties of laughter. It can also play an important role in helping us to unleash creativity. Do you have enough laughter in your workplace? If not, you might want to think about ways to change that!