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Scientists Hint at Why Laughter Feels So Good
Text by James Gorman (New York Times, Sept. 13, 2011)
Laughter is regularly promoted as a source of health and well being, but it has been hard to pin down exactly why laughing until it hurts feels so good. The answer, reports Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford, is not the intellectual pleasure of cerebral humor, but the physical act of laughing.... ha, ha, ha... endorphins... “Laughter is very weird stuff, actually”... laughter contributes to group bonding and may have been important in the evolution of highly social humans. Social laughter, Dr. Dunbar suggests, relaxed and contagious, is “grooming at a distance,” an activity that fosters closeness in a group the way one-on-one grooming, patting and delousing promote and maintain bonds between individual primates of all sorts. More