Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Joy Of Laughter :: Biology Essays Research Papers

The Joy Of Laughter Laughter is defined by as "the act of expressing certain emotions, especially mirth or delight, by a series of spontaneous, usually unarticulated sounds often accompanied by corresponding facial and bodily movements."(1) A thesaurus offers immense amounts of synonyms for the word "laugh", including giggle, cackle, chortle, snort, chuckle, crow, howl, snicker, snigger, convulse, titter, and the list goes on.(2) There are many words to describe laughter because it is such an integral part of our lives. The question of why we laugh may first be answered by looking at laughter in the purely physiological sense, which has been studied as gelotology. Then we can look at the effects of laughter, not just physically, but mentally and socially as well. After going over the oft-overlooked background of laughter, we can delve into the motivations behind our laughter. The actual flow of physical effects in the brain after hearing a joke are as follows. First, the left side of the cortex analyzes the words and structure of the joke. Then the brain's large frontal lobe becomes very active. This part of the brain has a lot to do with social emotional responses. After this, the right hemisphere of the cortex helps with comprehension of the joke. Then stimulation of the motor sections occurred, producing the physical responses of laughter.(3) The production of laughter is also highly involved with certain parts of the brain. For example, the central cortex has been found to have a negative electrical wave as a person laughs. The hypothalamus, part of the central cortex, has been found to be a main contributor to the production of loud, uncontrollable laughter. The combination of the set of gestures and production of sound is what makes up laughter. The actual muscles that create a smile are fifteen facial muscles which contract and stimulate the zygomatic major muscle, which basically lifts your upper lip. When the epiglottis half-close the larynx, the respiratory system is upset which causes air intake to occur irregularly, making you gasp. (3) In extreme circumstances, the tear ducts are activated, so that while the mouth is opening and closing and the struggle for oxygen intake continues, the face becomes moist and often red. Laughs can range in sound from virtually silent to noisy guffaws. The overall physical effects of laughter are that laughter stimulates the immune system. The experience of laughter lowers serum cortisol levels.

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