We can frame laughter as a biological response that is generated by specific stimuli. Some animals laugh too. At least 65 species have been found to do this, including dogs, chimpanzees, foxes, and some species of parrots. But why do we laugh?
Laughter in these species is used for socialization, play and relaxation. With it, these species transmit signals of tranquility and affection, preventing these activities from intensifying and becoming harmful.
What happens in the human being?
Laughter in humans emerged (according to studies) between 2 and 4 million years ago. It is said to have probably evolved from initial guttural sounds accompanied by panting and shortness of breath as a result of play.
The human being is the only animal that laughs in response to a given situation and multiple brain structures are involved in it, ranging from the capture of the stimulus by our sensory organs sent to specific brain areas in charge of processing information to the execution of movements: coordinated facial muscles, vocal cords, diaphragm, abdominal muscles and extremities.
Why do we laugh?
According to experts from the Spanish Society of Neurology, when the brain perceives an incongruity instead of a rational situation, it creates a controversy that ends in self-reward, which occurs with the release of dopamine and other endorphins. These give a feeling of pleasure and happiness.
Discover the benefits of laughter.
- Reduces blood pressure by raising nitric oxide levels (it is the most powerful vasodilator in our body).
- Reduces stress by reducing cortisol and adrenaline.
- Reduces the appearance of cardiovascular diseases.
- Improves the immune system.
- It is a powerful analgesic.
- Improves your mood.
- Increase your positive attitude towards life.
We all laugh
In fact, even if we are deaf, blind or have never heard laughter, we are capable of laughing. Even in babies from 5 weeks we can find a smile.
However, not all of us laugh in the same way or at the same things. This depends on age since this is linked to cognitive development, as well as personality, culture and even sex.
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