All About Laughter

Laughter serves weightier purposes than turning noses into milk spigots. More than merely a side-effect of mirth, it acts as a sophisticated social signaling system, helping people bond and even negotiate status. Consider that most social laughter does not result from any obvious joke.

Yukking it up also has numerous health benefits: It lowers anxiety, boosts the immune system, and aids circulation. These contagious convulsions are anything but frivolous.

Recent Posts on Laughter

A Little Good News for a Change

Many studies have shown that couples who enjoy long-term, fulfilling relationships, also tend to experience enhanced self-esteem, clarity of life purpose, a tendency to view things optimistically, and generally, better health.

Did Paleo Man have Drug or Drinking Problems?

By Donna Barstow on June 26, 2015 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Mental illness and mental health are not modern. What did cavemen (sorry, Paleo man) do about it?

This May Be the Secret to Happiness in Relationships

You may think the best way to deepen your relationship is to have serious, deep discussions about your thoughts and feelings. However, it may be that sharing a smile rather than deep feelings can be as good, if not better, for your relationship’s long-term health.

Aerobic Laughing: A New Weight Loss Plan

Just like all of us, I've been captivated by Caitlyn Jenner's courageous transformation. She inspired me to take a look at my own body and finally find a way to become the skinny person I've always wanted to be—via laughter.

Watching a Play about Anorexia

By Emily T. Troscianko on May 27, 2015 in A Hunger Artist
The benefits and dangers of creating art out of illness.

Reassessing Asperger's

A person with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) has difficulty with Theory of Mind: our ability to appreciate another person's point of view. But AS people can be very adept at noticing what people think and feel about them. This is a different perspective on perspective: that we are more interested in what people think or feel about us and later about what they think or feel.

Lessons in Speaking From The Heart

By Greg O'Brien on May 12, 2015 in On Pluto
Laughter can be a powerful antidote to dementia—the pain, conflict, and stress of it. A good laugh, doctors say, reduces tension and can leave muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, and triggers the release of endorphins—the natural drug of choice.

Black Comedians Poke Fun at Racial Stereotypes

Black Comedians Poke Fun at Racial Stereotypes. The comedian’s goal is to get us to laugh with him while laughing at him. By Michelle Stephens, PhD

Smartphones for Dummies—and Young People

You've hemmed and you've hawed, but finally you've given in and bought your child a smartphone. Now, the challenge begins: how do you ensure that he or she uses it wisely? Here are 10 guidelines to promote respectful, responsible use of your child’s new gadget.

The 4 Styles of Humor

What do you find funny, and what sort of humor appeals to you? Research has focused on different humor styles, and distinguishes four types.

Tired of Being 'Stuck' in Your Relationship?

There is an art to creating and embracing change so you can reinvigorate your relationship.

Body Smart

Your diaphragm plays a huge role in your tension and relaxation.

Redditor to Redditor

Young men are finding new ways to reach out to each other and older generations for advice and mentorship.

10 Signs of True Love

Two selfish creatures committing to a life partnership need an ironic frame.

Loving the Process Means Everything for Creativity

By Gregory Ciotti on April 13, 2015 in Habits, Not Hacks
Artists must enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.

Add Humor to Your Job and Boost Your Career

Take the brave step of experimenting with more well-placed humor at your job. By going outside your normal comfort zone with some easy-to-follow tips, you may develop a much more appealing work environment for yourself, and advance your career.

12 Ways to Replenish Your Energy

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on April 11, 2015 in Wander Woman
Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day, with little energy left for family and friends? This post will help you look at what you do that leaves you feeling drained, and then provides tips for revitalizing yourself so you have energy left for the evening.

Let’s Play: How the Science of the Brain Is Changing Therapy

I recently attended a conference at UCLA entitled: Play, Creativity, Mindfulness and Neuroscience in Psychotherapy. The conference offered an approach that has been gaining increasing importance, namely that: “Throughout the lifespan, play supports neurological growth and development while building complex, skilled, flexible, responsive and socially adept brains."

Why Inappropriate Laughter Is Often Contagious

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
The worst case of inappropriate laughter I've ever seen—can you resist giggling when you see it?

Should We Be Upset By Trevor Noah’s Controversial Tweets?

Trevor Noah is in hot water over a few not-so-hot tweets. The South African comic came under fire after Comedy Central announced he would replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. His offense: tweets that targeted Jews and women. What are your reactions to his posts? (Spoiler alert: fat chicks and Jewish women— be prepared to bristle. Proceed with caution...)

Cultural Differences

While attributing human characteristics to animals is cute in movies, and potentially a cause of misunderstanding between the species, it can be useful to help humans understand our 'cultural differences'.

The Shared Joy of Holiday Cooking

By Zanthe Taylor M.F.A. on April 02, 2015 in A Million Meals
A holiday meal has the benefit of allowing you to cook for an occasion that has two rare qualities—time and respect—built in.

Laugh Your Way to a Six Pack (Mentally and Physically)

Why are children so much happier and healthier than adults? Because they laugh about 200 times a day. Understand the real science behind laughter here and realise why you should make laughing a priority.

Infantasy: The Dream of Unconditional Love Never Dies Young

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Ambigamy
Romantic love and confirmation of our social worth are complexly tangled.

Does Everyone Really Love a Joker? (Does Anyone?)

Every school classroom seems to have a class clown—the nightmare of most teachers. However, we know very little about what happens to them when they enter the world of work, home, and community. When they grow up, these “wits” or jokesters can also create havoc to the other adults who inhabit their world.

7 Ways to Combat Facebook Jealousy

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Friendship 2.0
Many of us are trapped in a cycle of seeking out social media almost automatically when we're bored or stressed. Sometimes, though, it can do more harm than good—especially if it spurs on jealousy. Here are seven ways to break free.

7 Research-Based Reasons to Laugh Every Chance You Get

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Feeling It
Go on, rent that comedy! Laughter has more benefits than you even know!

Why Create Minor Characters in a Novel, Story or Essay?

By Sheila Kohler on March 30, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
Russian stories are often filled with a vast number of minor characters whose names we may find difficult to pronounce or remember. So why does Turgenev, for example, in a short story like Mumu ( 1854) give us not only his main character,Gerasim, the wonderful deaf and dumb serf, but the woman he belongs to, as well as a tailor, Kapiton Klimov who is a sad drunkard.

Leaving our Legacies Mindfully

By Thelma Duffey Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Works in Progress
We have choice to make when it comes to leaving an impact on others. It is important to live life and invest in those who care about you, while keeping in mind the legacy we want to leave.

Crossing Borders with Humor

I'm amazed to realize that he did those crazy things to connect with people