Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why | Science News

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Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why

11:59am, March 29, 2014

It’s certainly possible to over-analyze a joke. But can the same be said for humor as a whole? Considering the abundant research on the topic, maybe not.

Scott Weems, a neuroscientist, takes readers on a wide-ranging tour that explains what humor is and why readers should care. Turns out, humor influences health and social well-being in many ways.

Humor improves interpersonal relationships, and studies show that simply watching a funny movie can lower stress, improve immune system response and even help viewers better solve problems.

The complexity of the human brain makes humor possible, Weems argues, and it also helps explain how some people can find a joke hilarious while others deem it grossly offensive.

Humor takes many forms — as many as 44 by one researcher’s count — but shares certain traits

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