Laughter, the strange sound that can cause a feeling of euphoria, pride, or embarrassment in every social situation. It is a common behavior in humans, one of the many things that bond us together. But how was it developed? Have we always had laughter, or was it a part of evolution? Why did we start laughing? All these questions and more have a hypothesized answer, thanks to Pedro Marijuán and Jorge Navarro at the Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud in Spain.

Laughter explained.

There is a hypothesis that the brain did not develop to improve hunting skills and environmental survival, but it evolved to fit the need for complex social behaviors.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Once the agricultural revolution happened and our ancestors started living in one place instead of chasing all of their food, social behaviors started developing. Imagine being one of those people, building a shelter and planting crops. Other people start to build around you, then they need stuff that you have, and you need stuff they have. You trade, and as this happens more, social behavior is created.

Let's say that a group of ten people trying to communicate together end up talking over each other - laughter often happens. It's to signal your participation, which leads to stronger bonds being built among many in the group. A theory that Marijuán and Navarro have come up with is that laughter is analogous to blushing. When a person blushes, it's to relieve the excess flow of blood to the brain that happens during certain social situations such when you forget a line when acting on stage.

Advertisements

Laughter is thought to be a similar situation, where so much intellectual momentum builds up that it needs to be released. Marijuán and Navarro think that this other mechanism is the channeling of excess cortical excitations to parts of the brain responsible for vocalization.

In Laymen's Terms.

Hearing so much stuff in a conversation that excites certain parts of the brain leads to laughter at the moment when you want to respond but have nothing in particular to say. So, the development of social behavior is thought to be the key element in this situation, instead of physical evolution. Of course, like many strange anomalies in this world, all of this is hypothesis until it can be tested. And when that will be is still a mystery to scientists.

So, if you ever find yourself laughing at a funeral or any other bad situation, just saying you're vocalizing your intellectual momentum. Or don't, because that's really weird. #Donald Trump #Science #Comedy