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Science reveals new benefits of laughter

IT News Nigeria:


Laughter is a tool to help individuals thrive while struggling to survive along difficult path, according to a new study.

Carlo Valerio Bellieni, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Siena in Italy, analyzed more than 150 papers that identified various important aspects of the conditions that make humans laugh.

Laughter provides a host of physiological, psychological, social and economic benefits, adding,  humor has always been a way of helping people to cope with stress and anxiety, boosting positive emotions while mitigating the “perceived intensity of negative life events”.

According to the study, ‘Laughter: A signal of ceased alarm toward a perceived incongruity between life and stiffness’, laughter was possibly preserved by natural selection over the millennia to help humans survive.

The professor examined theories of humor that provided significant information on three areas: the physical features of laughter, the brain centers related to producing laughter, and the health benefits of laughter.

By arranging all the theories into specific areas, the study condensed the actual process of laughter into three main steps: “bewilderment, resolution, and a potential all-clear signal.”

Laughter is described by Bellieni as a three-step process. First, the situation that seems “odd” may trigger a sense of incongruity. Second, the “stress” the incongruous situation that has been provoked must be overcome, or resolved. And, finally, the actual release of laughter acts as a signal to alert others bystanders that they are “safe”.

Accordingly, the professor claimed, laughter could have been used by people for millennia to show others that a “fight or flight” response is not needed, as there is no “threat”.

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