The human laugh, an introduction

October 30, 2011 by
Filed under: Communication 

Laughing, what does it mean and why cant we do without it? If you look from a distance to people who are cheerful and observe their bodylanguage, then it takes notice that a laugh is a remarkable expression: the eyes become little wrinkles, the mouth opens up to become a huge whole. The shoulders move up and down and often laughing people bring their hands towards their faces. Apart from this, laughing gives us a good feeling, it works in a relaxing way, it lowers stress levels and it can even prevail that we get infections.

So in a nutshell: laughing is really healthy and it is liberating. Duchenne, a pioneer in facial expressions, calls the laugh the sweet emotion of the human soul.

Laughing is always associated with humor. Being able to detach from serious subjects, being able to see the relative side of life, finding funny elements in serious and emotionally hard subjects (for instance in a war or negative mindblowing experience like an accident). Often it is thought that these are characteristics which are unique for human beings.

When people start to laugh, there is always an unexpected turn and the unraveling makes us laugh. This behaviour is already present at a very oung age. Babies already laugh when they are a few months old. For example: if a little cloth fals on a baby’s face, is that a scary situation for the child. But if the mother picks up the cloth, and drops it again smotthly, then it becomes a little play. The baby will understand that it is a game; it is still a bit scary, but its not longer a serious issue. So it will start laughing and cheering. The tension makes place for relaxation.

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