The 15 types of laughter (and their characteristics)
Reduce blood pressure. Oxygenate the body. Burn calories. Boost the immune system. Reduce stress. Improve memory Enhance creativity. Reduce cholesterol levels. Produce endorphins. Increase collagen production.
At first glance, it may seem that these are the effects of the best mindfulness therapy in the world or the result of training for a marathon, but the truth is that they are the consequences of something as trivial and as common as laughing. And is that laughter has innumerable benefits not only socially, but also health.
It is estimated that for every 10 minutes of conversation, people laugh about 7 times. For stories, jokes, tickles and even as a protection strategy against tense situations or for events that, in theory, should not be funny. The thing is, we laugh all the time.
But what exactly is laughter? Why do we laugh? What benefits does laughter have on our body? What types of laughter are there? If you want to find the answer to this and many other fascinating questions about laughter, you have come to the right place. In today's article we will explore the classification of laughter and the science behind it.
What is laughter and what benefits does it have?
Laughter is a physiological response that occurs as a reaction to different internal and external stimuli, culminating in the emission of characteristic sounds. in conjunction with some mouth and facial movements that we make at the same time that we emit these sounds of the same tonality repeated every 200 milliseconds approximately.
Laughter appears because the brain triggers, before a specific stimulus that it interprets as "funny", a series of cascades of hormonal reactions (where dopamine mainly intervenes) that end with a feeling of well-being that, in turn, activates different muscles of the rib cage.
Dopamine, known as the happiness hormone, once released by order of the brain After experiencing something that he interprets as pleasant, it runs through our blood vessels and begins to alter our physiology so that we feel good.
And this is where the thoracic muscles come into play. Dopamine modulates their activity, causing them to contract, something that translates into pressure in the lungs that culminates in the irregular entry and exit of air in them and with the consequent gasps, screams or suffocation of each person.
The sound of laughter, then, does not come from the mouth or the throat (there is no movement of the tongue or the lips), but from the lower respiratory tract. Laughter, therefore, is born from the pressure on the chest muscles induced by dopamine that has been released as a self-rewarding reaction by the brain after experiencing something funny or pleasant.
On a social level, laughter has innumerable benefits. Hence, it is not something exclusive to humans, but many primates (and even, although it is being studied, dogs and rats) use this laugh as a mechanism of sociability. But its benefits go further. Laughter also supports the health of the body.
And this is due not only that it improves our mood (due to the action of dopamine itself on an emotional level), but it reduces blood pressure (when we relax after laughing, the cardiovascular system experiences a positive reduction in blood pressure), oxygenates the body (the lungs work faster) , burns calories (we are using more than 400 different muscles), boosts the immune system (different studies indicate that the physiological action of laughter could stimulate the production of antibodies), reduces stress (we stop synthesizing so much cortisol, the hormone associated with stress), improves memory (emotional ties make us remember better), enhances creativity (the brain is more active), reduces cholesterol levels (helps reduce the amount of bad cholesterol), produces endorphins (we stimulate release of hormones linked to the feeling of well-being) and increases the production of collagen (a resistant, flexible and elastic protein present in many t ejidos of the body).
As we can see, the science behind laughter is amazing and its benefits almost innumerable. It is not surprising, then, that the concept of "laughter therapy" has already been established, understood as a therapy that seeks to use laughter as a tool to improve people's physical and emotional health through exercises that encourage them to laugh. .
How is laughter classified?
Now that we've understood what laughter is, why we laugh, and what its physical and emotional benefits are, we are more than ready to see how it ranks. Let's see, then, the different types of laughter that exist depending on their physiological characteristics and their triggers.
1. Frank laugh
The frank or genuine laugh is that which is natural and involuntary and that arises from an emotional stimulation like the one we have detailed. It is a type of laughter without a clear objective, as it arises without being sought, but it brings many benefits. It is the laugh most associated with happiness.
2. Fake laugh
The false or simulated laugh is one that occurs intentionally and voluntarily and that it arises not in a genuine way, but with a goal. It is a type of laughter that is objective (which does not have to be bad) and, as such, does not arise from a natural emotional stimulation, but we induce it ourselves. Obviously, it does not report the benefits of the frank.
3. Social laughter
Social laughter is one that, being false or simulated (although it can also be frank), fulfills a clear communicative purpose within personal or professional relationships. It is a laugh that is generally not genuine but that seeks to create bonds, appear nice, express approval and even not leave someone bad. If your boss explains a joke and you don't like it, laugh. Tip of the day.
4. Inopportune laughter
The inopportune laugh is the one that is genuine but triggered at inappropriate times. Laugh when we don't have to laugh (or when it doesn't make sense for us to), basically. It can generate uncomfortable situations depending on the social context. Some studies indicate that the laughter that arises when they tell us something bad would be a protective mechanism of the brain.
A laugh is a loud laugh. It is the most expressive of all and it will hardly be false or simulated. That laugh that we have and that makes us hold our stomachs and even end up with tears in our eyes.
A giggle is a quieter laugh. Generally, it is the one that is usually simulated and is more associated with social moments. It is not very expressive but by that we do not mean that it cannot be genuine. Many frank laughs are silent.
A laugh is a prolonged laugh. It is that loud and impetuous laugh that we cannot stop and that will even leave us with a stomachache. But it is worth it, because the feeling of emotional well-being that we have afterwards is incomparable.
8. Nervous laugh
Nervous laughter is genuine laughter but not associated with pleasant feelings. It is that laugh that the brain induces when it needs, however, to reduce stress levels. In this sense, laughter becomes a defense strategy to combat the tension associated with nervousness. The person laughs to unconsciously relieve stress.
9. Silly laugh
The silly laugh is a genuine laugh that It arises without explanation but that we cannot stop. It is usually associated with contagious laughter, known as mirror neurons, which help us feel empathy with other people. A laugh that can be awkward but very funny.
10. Evil laugh
The evil laugh is a theatrical laugh that seeks to show malevolent intentions before a plan. It is a laugh that has become a comic resource associated with villains who laugh in a very false way as a symbol of their hidden intentions.
11. Substance-induced laughter
Substance-induced laughter is one that arises after the consumption of medications or drugs that alter the physiology of the central nervous system, igniting the physiological reactions associated with laughter. Although they can induce laughter without positive emotions, the most common is that first stimulate states of well-being, humor and happiness.
12. Denigrating laughter
Denigrating laughter is that false or simulated laugh that aims to ridicule another person. Laughter becomes a tool to denigrate someone, so in this case it is not only that it does not bring benefits to those who laugh, but it is also a painful experience for those who are ridiculed.
13. Tickle Induced Laughter
Tickle-induced laughter is the only way to laugh that is stimulated by a physical reaction and not by a neurological one. The stimulation of certain regions of the skin can awaken, in many people, the action of laughing. Even so, those who have a lot of tickles know that it can turn into a not very pleasant experience.
14. Ironic laugh
The ironic laugh is that false or simulated laugh that, in a social context, is a sign of irony. We laugh with the intention of show that it generates everything except laughter. It is a very powerful form of non-verbal communication.
15. Pathological laughter
Pathological laughter is that which makes laughter a hell. It is a laugh that is neither associated with emotional well-being nor is it a communicative tool, but rather arises due to a neurological disorder. People with pathological laughter disorder suffer, without any trigger, uncontrollable episodes of laughter that can cause not only physical damage, but very serious emotional and social problems. Fortunately or unfortunately, this disorder became famous as a result of the premiere of the film Joker, in 2019.