Laughter is the best medicine, a very old saying that has a lot of meaning to it. Laughter is a perfect way of relaxing body and mind.In this article, we will get to understand the way the brain responds when a person laughs. Along with that, we will also understand how the various parts of our brain respond to laughter by taking a look at different studies that have highlighted the way various neurotransmitters are activated when people laugh.
Tests conducted to understand how parts of the brain respond to laughter
The largest region of the brain that functions towards emotional responses is called the frontal lobe. During the various tests and studies conducted by researchers, there was a clear indication that the frontal lobe is the portion that deals with emotions.
However, in reality when a person laughs, various other parts of the brain are stimulated. The actual reason behind this is yet to be known as researchers are conducting in-depth analysis and studies to understand the real link origin between the relationship of the brain and laughter. There has been some progress on this front but the entire facts are still unknown.
A brief on one such study conducted
Another study of the brain activity shows how laughter stimulates the brain. In this study, the brain activity of a few people was monitored with the help of an EEG or electroencephalograph machines. It was indicated that a regular electrical pattern is produced by the brain when the subjects of the study laughed.
To understand this factor, a few people were used as volunteers to conduct the study about how the brain responded to laughter. During their analysis, they found that as soon as the subjects were exposed to something funny, within a couple of seconds and electrical waves were seen moving through the largest part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. The laughter resulted due to a negative charge of the wave and it was seen that there was no response if there was a positive charge.
The link between the brain laughter and stress
Loma Linda University’s immunologist, Dr. Lee Berk has been conducting various studies since the 1980 to understand the regulation of hormones with the effects of mirthful laughter. During their various research and studies, Dr. Berk and his team found that the stress hormone called epinephrine and cortisol is regulated by the brain the minute a person laugh.
Apart from that, a link was discovered between the production of endorphins and antibodies, which are natural painkillers of the body and laughter. Dr Berk reported that positive effects were seen even if there was just a thought about something funny as even the thought has an effect on the brain.
The Brain’s very own reward system
The reward hormone of the brain called dopamine is the neurotransmitter that helps in the regulation of learning, attention, motivation and mood. It helps in even triggering psychologically the feeling of pleasure. A Stanford research team had reported a study that they had conducted which was also published in the issue of their journal neuron.
They had conducted various research and studies to understand, how the dopamine level regulated in the brain with the help of humor or laughter. The findings were that when a person laughed, it stimulated the brain and that resulted in the increase of the levels of dopamine.
Serotonin and Laughter
Scientist and researchers are still trying to get concrete data to understand the connection between serotonin and laughter. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that is linked to various emotions. When the levels of serotonin are low in the brain it results in emotions like depression, anxiety and aggression. Both serotonin and mirthful laughter help a person in feeling good. Mirthful laughter has a positive effect on a person.
A final note
When a person laughs the levels of endorphin and dopamine increases and the levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone decreases. This is the reason why laughter is said to be good for the health and just buy laughing it out you can actually stimulate your brain and activate the feel good neurotransmitters and reduce the stress hormone.