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How Laughter is Good for Your Brain with Professor Sophie Scott

Braincare Podcast Episode #20
December 14, 2020
2 min read

Professor Sophie Scott CBE wants to tickle your neurons! The Director of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL is an author, TED talker, and stand-up aficionado who's spent her career investigating the power of a good knee-slapper, and what exactly happens when we laugh.

How laughter is good for you

On today's Braincare Podcast, we explore laughter, one of the most powerful non-verbal expressions of emotion, and why it's about a lot more than humour. Sophie shares her insights on how stress can induce laughter, what it can tell you about the state of your relationships, and why we rarely laugh alone.

We use laughter communicatively and to try and deal with stress. So, for a very simple emotional vocalization, it's an unbelievably complex behaviour for human adults.

Laughter and cultures

Laughter is often viewed as a universal behaviour with a capacity to overcome language barriers. And, indeed, humour has been documented throughout the history of humankind. However, as we discover, cultural references are key!

There's a whole book of jokes from the Roman period called 'The Laughter Lover'. They look like jokes, you can see the shape of a joke, but they're not very funny.

Podcast Episode Takeaways

In this first episode with Professor Sophie Scott we will cover:

  • Your brain on comedy

  • What is laughter actually a physiological response to?

  • Darwins thoughts on laughter

  • Why do we laugh less on our own?

  • Why Roman jokes are so terrible

  • Where is your brain's ticklish bit?

Listen here.

And subscribe to The Braincare Podcast to get more bitesize interviews with the world's leading scientists and experts.

Want to learn more about how to get your neurons hopped up on good vibes? Check out our previous episode with James Doty on The Science of Manifestation.

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