We laugh when something is so funny, we forget to control our emotions. It is our body’s way of releasing tension without our control. Our bones are not funny, but saying so at least gives an explanation. Laughter is all out and loud. It doesn’t just please us as humor does, it makes us momentarily forget our troubles. Laughter is no turning back; you have to go all the way.
It’s a no holes barred release of pent-up emotions that has nothing to do with anything else at that moment. Laughter suspends itself in time. It is a loud but soft yawn filled with bone rattling noises and wild facial grimaces. Laughter is nothing we can control, nor do we wish to. It is an active moment n time belonging to itself.
There are physical reasons for the loud noises one makes when laughing. The muscles in the face, especially those around the upper lip, contract and because of the tension on the respitory muscles not enough air gets through and the half gasp is nothing else but air forcing its way through. Laughter is an automatic clownish act and one no one called for. It just happened. Its time was right.
From giggles to guffaws laughter is noisy and it is pleasant and it minds no one. Laughter is catching. Or as some say, laughter is contagious. Yet why do we laugh? What is it that touches us at that precise moment that makes us ‘let it all out? The human messaging system seems to be having a time out. One synaptic message or joke triggers another and several factors – all unknown precisely – trigger a laugh in. It’s a joyous time for all cranium workers.
What section of the brain is responsible for laughter? The frontal lobe is where it all starts. The experts do not know precisely what causes laughter and if they knew they probably would not think it funny at all. They might cease to laugh and that would be no joking matter. It is not that researchers haven’t tried to probe into the reasons for laughter, they have. In fact tests have been run and EEG’s (electroencephalograph) have been made while subjects read jokes. The purpose to see what areas in the brain responded to the humor.
Some progress is being made in determining how and where laughter starts and what effects it has on the body while these rip-roaring gyrating knee-slapping laughter fits are going on. Although the studies done by scientists are probably controlled studies there may not be such boisterous movements. Certainly nothing to dislodge the hook-ups – the wires that are pasted on your skull to monitor your laughter origins.
Still, evidence shows there were “regular” electrical patterns in the cerebral cortex when funny material was being read or understood by the subject. “Laughter resulted if the brain took a negative charge” but if the charge was positive, nothing happened.
But somehow knowing takes all the fun out of laughter. It’s like insisting that a baby tell his mommy why he is so happy when she walks into the room. How does that little darling know why he giggles and goos and slobbers all over his chin. She’s there and he’s happy and that’s that.