General Question

Myndecho's avatar

From a evolutionary stance why do we laugh and find things funny?

Asked by Myndecho (948points) May 3rd, 2009

What purpose does laughing have? And why do we find certain sentences funny?

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26 Answers

justwannaknow's avatar

It keeps us from crying.

Kelly27's avatar

I think it is more about social cues and bonding than anything else.

warpling's avatar

It’s a response to something we do not know how to properly respond to, if that makes any senseā€¦
Think about various “funny” situations

Jayne's avatar

It seems that we laugh most often at the unexpected. Laughing, then, might be a way to display that we are not threatened by these surprises. It’s really a way to show that you are relaxed and in control of the situation, which is important for social status. This is in addition to its function as a social bonding device. Of course, I’m just guessing here.

SeventhSense's avatar

Maybe it just felt good to laugh so we continued to do it and sought out things that made us laugh.

Myndecho's avatar

I had the same thought with crying, why. I saw a video on it but I don’t think they explained it enough, why we evolved to lactate out our eyes when sad.

SeventhSense's avatar

You have little eyelash babies that you’re feeding? :)

SeventhSense's avatar

Or you are referring to lactate-a salt or ester of lactic acid but that is not a verb. In this context lactate would be secreted through the eye ducts. Lactate as a verb refers to the act of lactation, which describes the secretion of milk from the mammary glands.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Laughing releases endorphins making us feel all good and primed for having sex to make babies.

Blondesjon's avatar


Jayne's avatar

Oh, @Blondesjon, you are so cool and relaxed, you are now my leader.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Jayne….Perfect Now we just need to convince the others…

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I’m actually just finishing up a course on comedy, where we spent a lot of time talking about why we laugh. Freud says we laugh to relieve tension we feel about the topic (ie people laugh at someone tripping and falling because they have anxieties about being embarrassed in a similar way). Other comedy theorists say we laugh because the thing we are laughing at falls outside of our expectations and acceptable limits, and our laughter is a form of ridicule. Still others say laughter is motivated by the inability to adapt to situations. Biologically, it is somewhat of a chain reactionn response, similar to yawning, and @hungryhungryhortence is right as well; laughing releases endorphins, and endorphins make one feel good.

Aethelwine's avatar

Blondesjon is contagious.Really, he is!

wundayatta's avatar

WOmen often say they want a “good sense of humor” in their prospective mates. This suggests to me that there must be something about humor that makes men better father material. Maybe it is a signifier that the man will be a good caretaker? Maybe it signifies that it will be easier to get along with the guy, and you’ll be less likely to break up with him? It could also do what @hungryhungryhortence said.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Relief that something’s not happening to us, maybe?

The great social thinker, Mel Brooks, once said, “Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die.”

SeventhSense's avatar

probably like less likely to kill her when she annoys the shit out of him..:)

wundayatta's avatar

@SeventhSense watch it there, buddy. You’ll have the women all over you if you keep that up!

SeventhSense's avatar

tee hee snorkle snorkle

mattbrowne's avatar

Laughing increases focus and learning. Why? Because it influences the levels of hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin (indirectly) and various endorphins in our brain.

SeventhSense's avatar

<—enjoys women being all over him. :0)

Myndecho's avatar

Why does it influences the levels of hormones and neurotransmitters?

Why is it we have evolved to feel happy after certain sentences?

wundayatta's avatar

<——has the sense of humor of a fish, and wonders why female fish are not all over him. Oh, wait. Fish need water. Maybe if I were in water, female fish would be all over me! Yeah! That’s the ticket! But do I really want that?

SeventhSense's avatar

Be careful of what fish you attract.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Myndecho – Joy is a key emotion. Laughter can be one of several ways for our body to express this emotion. Sensory information related to joy influences levels of hormones and neurotransmitters.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Isn’t laughter the best medicine?

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