Social Question

longgone's avatar

Do you laugh more when with others?

Asked by longgone (17090points) January 16th, 2015

I’ve found that, when watching something funny, I am much more likely to laugh if accompanied by others. Why is that?

Bonus question: Do we laugh because we’re happy…or vice versa?

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

My husband laughs so loud when watching TV you can probably hear him two apartments over.

I probably laugh a little more when I’m with someone else watching TV, because if I miss a joke their laughter might clue me in. Also, with my husband, sometimes I am laughing at how hard he is laughing. It just makes me giggle that he is so entertained. This happens when I watch with my mom too.

I do laugh on my own though too.

Not only watching TV, but in other situations laughter can be infectious, no question.

Bill1939's avatar

My experience with audiences attending our community’s theater company’s performances is that when one member of the audience laughs (or coughs) others are more inclined to laugh (or cough). This is especially true when a few hundred attendees are seated close together rather than spread out around the first floor’s seven hundred seats.

wsxwh111's avatar

Guess I’m the weird one here.
I don’t really like being around people..I enjoy it when I’m alone a little more, I guess.
And I laugh more seeing sth. funny when I’m alone :b

thorninmud's avatar

Yes. One recent theory about this is that laughter evolved as a social bonding mechanism; sharing a laugh connects us to others. Studies have confirmed what you’re saying; people laugh more at the same stimulus when they’re in the company of others. Even when we do see something alone that we think is really funny, our immediate impulse is to share it with someone else, not just because you want them to be amused too, but because you want to laugh with them.

That was the reason for the invention of the laugh track and filming sitcoms in front of a live audience. Hearing others laugh stimulates our own laughter and makes us perceive the show as funnier.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@thorninmud I find laugh tracks so annoying it turns me off. I used to really like the show Big Bang Theory but the laugh track got to be too much.
Try this experiment: watch a show from the last 3–4 years. Now turn down the volume so you cannot understand the words and close your eyes – or simply go into another room within hearing range. Start counting down slowly from 5… 4… 3… 2… 1. Hahaha! 5… 4… 3… 2… 1 Ha ha ha!!! 5… 4 3 2 1 LOL HAHA!!!. And repeat. It drives me crazy. It is so obviously canned or “live audience prompted” the laughing often blocks out the actual joke. It starts before the unheard punch line.
I laugh at the Simpsons, no prompting required.

Mariah's avatar

Something has to be really fucking funny to make me laugh alone, and I don’t really know why there is a disparity. I sometimes wonder if it’s because laughter evolved as a form of communication, a way for people to let each other know that they’re happy or having fun, and so we don’t really feel the urge as much. when there’s no one around to hear it.

Here2_4's avatar

I laugh more alone. I feel less inhibited about my laughter being loud if nobody is there to be offended.

DominicY's avatar

Yes, I do. I think laughter is a form of communication/bonding. I know that when I watch a comedy, I laugh more if I’m with a friend who is also laughing than if I’m just by myself. It tends to put me in a mood where I am more likely to laugh.

Blackberry's avatar

Yea, and this was when I figured out going out alone will never beat making friends and going out with them. Although going out alone is much better than being in an awkward situation.

longgone's avatar

Thanks, everyone. Interesting.

@thorninmud “Even when we do see something alone that we think is really funny, our immediate impulse is to share it with someone else.”

Great point – though I agree with @LuckyGuy about the canned laughter!

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