Funny Research

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Seth Borenstein, science writer for the Associated Press, recently interviewed scientists whose research goals include establishing a better understanding of laughter and its potential benefits. His resulting article notes that laughter is fundamentally a primal, social behavior often performed involuntarily. Not only do human beings laugh — so do apes, chimpanzees, dogs and even rats who, current research has disclosed, take delight in being tickled and will laugh during the pleasurable experience!

Laughter has been linked to the production of a chemical that acts as an anxiety-reducer and antidepressant. Although researchers quoted in the piece did not assert that laughter alone has been proven to provide direct health benefits, it was pointed out that this may be because it is scientifically difficult to isolate laughter from distraction and mood improvement, two variables which have been found beneficial to patients. Interviewed for the article, Baltimore neuroscientist and laughter researcher Dr. Robert Provine observed: "Isn’t the fact that laughter feels good when you do it, isn’t that enough?"

To read Borenstein’s complete article, click here.


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