Here’s how it usually goes: You’re working from home and you dial in to a conference call for the morning meeting. Everyone is cheerfully talking around the table. You can’t believe what a good time everyone seems to be having, talking about nothing.
In the early 1990s, neuroscientist Robert Provine and colleagues conducted a study to find out what sparked laughter in conversations. Some of the “hilarious” phrases they observed included:
“I’ll see you guys later.”
“It was nice meeting you, too.”
“I see your point.”
“Look, it’s Andre!”
You can read about Provine’s observational study here. And find out why rat “laughter” can prevent aggression in other rats, why laughter may be a universally-recognized human sound, and why teenage boys at risk for becoming psychopaths don’t join along in the laughter of others.
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