The Communication of Laughter

6019067180_87b7b8ae1b_bWe previously discussed the non-verbal communicative method of crying, so are there other ways that we communicate without using words? What is laughter if not another form of communication?

When words are no longer able to accurately convey your mood, laughter erupts from our core and brings us closer to those around us. It’s said that laughter is even able to help with romantic relationships.

Whether it’s romantic or not, laughter is an indicator of both health and vitality through relationships and within one’s own self.

For women, laughter is associated with greater social support and as a way to cope with stress. While this may also be true for men, men tend to laugh when discussing sensitive subjects for coping.

Within any type of relationship, laughter opens up a channel of communication that reaches us on a different level. Rober Provine, a neurobiologist who studies laughter, studied everyday laughter with the help of three graduate students. Results showed that the speaker laughs 46 percent more than the listener; also, people tend to laugh more for men. Laughter, unlike speech, rarely interrupted listeners and instead came when expected, after the punchline or the end of a thought; those who were in a group tended to laugh more than those on their own, by more than 30 percent! 

Provine suggested in a research paper that 80 percent of laughter comes in everyday situations, comments and social interactions, acting as a symbol of friendship and goodwill. 

This is, of course, just a study of authentic laughter, but how has laughter evolved throughout the history of humankind? How was laughter able to provide a more effective line of communication than speech alone? 

While laughter comes inherently to us, it doesn’t really make sense. In fact, laughter has puzzled behavioral biologists for as long as behavioral biologists have existed. Why would something like this be built into our subconscious to the point of creating a consistent trait across all cultures? It’s ingrained in us in the same manner as any other survival trait. 

Pedro Marijuán and Jorge Navarro at the Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud in Spain explained the reasoning for this in the technology review.

They explained that laughter is an important trait for social bonding, and because our brains were evolving and growing at a heightened state right around the same time larger groups of humans started to interact, there had to be another way to communicate, in the same manner as monkeys may groom as a means to communicate or socially bond. 

It’s because of the term “social brain hypothesis”, rather than just learning how to clean, cook, and survive in general, the brain learned how to cope with social demands by laugher when living in larger groups. 

Thus, the laugh was born. 


Stay tuned for more inheritable communication traits. In the meantime, make sure to check out this wonderful translator site for more information on communication and translation. 

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