Brain physiology to funny situations
& Under stress...
Humor, Laughter and the Brain:
While comedians have spent lots of time focusing on humor and laughter, scientists mostly ignored the subject. In recent years, however, several groups of researchers started to research this form of merriment. Their investigations are shedding light on how the brain processes humor and prompts laughter. Researchers believe that uncovering the brain and body's specific response to positive stimuli like humor and laughter may lead to new therapies.
What do you get if you cross one of Dr. Greenberg's students with an alien? Something from another universe-ity!
You'll also get unique activity in the brain if you think this joke is funny, according to increasing evidence. The new investigations into how humor and laughter influence the brain are leading to:
ÃÂ·A clearer understanding of how positive emotions affect brain mechanisms.
ÃÂ·Creative ideas for new therapies for emotion disorders and pain.
While many researchers have tracked the brain mechanisms of depression, fear and anger, they mostly ignored positive emotions. In recent years, however, scientists have started to take laughter and humor much more seriously. Some new work teases out how the brain processes a funny experience.
While it's still in an early phase, studies suggest that on a simple level the complex process involves three main brain components. One part, a cognitive thinking part, helps you "get" the joke. A second movement part helps move the muscles of the face to smile and laugh. And a third emotional part helps produce the happy feelings that accompany a joyful experience.
In one study I read about, researchers used imaging equipment to photograph the brain activity of healthy volunteers while they underwent a sidesplitting assignment of reading written jokes, viewing cartoons from The New Yorker magazine as well as Gary...