Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Something to laugh about.

From Mental Floss...
In his lab, Provine feeds the laughter into a sound spectrograph, analyzing the frequency, amplitude, and length of each sample. In more than 30 years of fieldwork he’s collected an astounding amount of data. He knows that “laugh notes” (such as “ha,” “ho,” or “heh”) have a duration of 75 milliseconds, separated at regular intervals of 210 milliseconds. He’s found that babies laugh 300 times a day, while adults laugh only 20 times. And he knows that laughter peaks at around five years of age. In a study of the “Giggle Twins,” two identical twins who were separated at birth and reunited 43 years later, Provine says, “Until they met each other, neither of these exceptionally happy ladies had known anyone who laughed as much as she did.” He used the example to show how laugh patterns and genetics are linked. 
So, what’s his motivation? Why does this bespectacled psychology professor walk around stalking laughs? Because he wants to understand why we do it. The answer seems obvious: We laugh because something’s funny. Not so, says Provine—and he’s got proof.

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