Laughing is a part of universal human vocabulary. Unlike English, French or Hindi, we don’t need to learn to do it, and are born with the ability to laugh naturally. One of the best things about laughter is that it occurs unconsciously. You don’t produce laughter but unconsciously assist it. That’s the reason it’s so hard to laugh at a command or pretend a fake laughter. Laughter provides powerful insights to our mind and bubbles up in certain situations.
But you can ask a question here, why do we laugh or what’s the specific mechanism responsible for our laugh? We know that laughter is triggered by some sensations and thoughts that activate many parts of our body. Laughter also requires some modification in our breathing pattern.
Everybody has the ability to laugh. The Babies laugh long ago before they acquire speech, and even the adults have “pant-pant” laughter. Laughter is a primitive and unconscious vocalization. While laughing, within our biological being, we emit sounds and express emotions.
We laugh thirty times more when we’re with somebody rather than being alone. We can assume that laughter is to express yourself to let people know that something is funny. But the primary purpose of laughter may be self-expression. When you laugh, the people around you start laughing in response and soon the whole group is cheerful. It eases tension and foster sense of group unity.
When we laugh, we communicate playful intent. Laughter has a bonding function within individuals. It’s often positive and negative at times. There’s a significant difference between “laughing with” and “laughing at”. Laughing with – cheers the whole atmosphere with joy and laughing at – signifies laughing at someone who doesn’t want to join you in any manner and finds it annoying.
We have learned a lot about when and why do we laugh. Going deeper will let you know more about the brain mechanisms of laughter and why are we so susceptible to tickling, being one of the most enigmatic human behaviors.