Laugh aloud to lighten up your face

New Delhi: According to a new study, laughter lightens up our faces and the neurons in our brains. The funnier a joke is, the more activity is seen in the reward centres or specific neurons, which create feelings of pleasure.

A team of Medical Research Council scientists scanned the brains of 12 volunteers to compare what happened when they heard ordinary sentences and jokes.

They found that the reward centres `lit up` much more in response to humour than ordinary sentences.

Furthermore, the strength of the response depended on how funny each of the 12 patients found these jokes.

"We found a characteristic pattern of brain activity when the jokes used were puns," the Daily Mail quoted Dr Matt Davis, from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge as saying.

"For example, jokes like `Why don`t cannibals eat clowns? Because they taste funny!` involved brain areas for language processing more than jokes that didn`t involve wordplay," he added.

"This response differed again from non-humorous sentences that also contained words with more than one meaning. Mapping how the brain processes jokes and sentences shows how language contributes to the pleasure of getting a joke," explained the researchers.

The researchers suggested that the findings could be used as a benchmark for understanding how people who cannot communicate normally react to jokes.

The research has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


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