Laughing Helps Us Learn New Things
Psychology Today says laughter helps facilitate your capacity to learn new things. Especially for children, and that is why laughter is such an important part of their playful activities. It actually helps them learn new skills as they engage in play.
Plus, laughter helps ensure they are in an emotionally healthy and safe environment.
Researchers conducted an experiment on babies, some only 18 months old, to determine whether laughter would help focus attention, motivate, perceive, memorize and learn.
The conclusion: The babies who laughed learned to target actions better. The study leader theorized the reason to be dopamine release.
Other scientists have used the knowledge of what dopamine can do for us to set forth the hypothesis that laughter, as a natural high, is better than a chemical high, say in pushing the assertion why young people should say “No” to drugs.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control our brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Some call it the motivation molecule that gives you a little thrill when you accomplish something. And, it encourages laughter. Without it, there is actually something missing, it is called dopamine deficiency.
We have seen it in others, and no doubt experienced it: a sluggish sort of apathy that results in everything from inability to concentrate to trouble sleeping to lack of sexual drive.
But scientists say we can boost our dopamine without being a thrill seeker.
It can be increased through choosing healthy foods such as avocados, dark chocolate, good coffee & green tea, and healthy spices such as turmeric and black pepper.
Listening to classical music can do it, even anticipating listening to music can do it.
In fact, dopamine can help us relax, and relaxing can open the mind to seeing the humor in things, it is very healthy.
Scientists took MRI images of someone laughing to see what laughter actually stimulates. It turns out that laughing does not really involve peoples’ mouths or throats, but rather their ribcages, and emerges as one of the most primitive ways humans can emit sound.
The BBC adds this: “Laughter is a non-verbal emotional expression and these sounds, which we typically make when in the grip of quite strong emotions, are more like animal calls than they are like our normal speech.
We make them in very simple ways (unlike speech) and they are controlled by an evolutionarily ‘older’ brain system, one that looks after vocalization in all mammals (unlike speech).
This is why a stroke can rob someone of the ability to speak, but leave them able to laugh and cry. They have suffered damage to the brain areas that enable them to speak, but the older emotional system is still intact.”
Amazingly, our laughter can benefit people who happen to hear us “yukking” it up. Scientists at Loma Linda University in Southern California conducted a study to see if laughter can do more than just make someone feel good for a few minutes.
20 healthy adults in their 60’s and 70’s agreed to participate in the experiment that would measure their short term memory and stress levels.
Divided in half, 1 group got to watch funny videos, while the other group was asked to sit quietly without talking or interacting with each other, with no books, television or cell phones.
Then 20 mins later, members of both groups had saliva taken and underwent a short memory test.
While both groups performed better than they had before the tests began, the faction that watched the funny videos had significantly better results. The improvement related to a 43.6% better recall, compared with just 20.3^ in the other no-activity group.
Plus, participants in the “Funny” group had much lower levels of cortisol, called the “stress hormone.” Multiple other studies have determined that laughter is “Good Medicine”.
Laughing is some of the best medicine because endorphins tune up our immune system, so triggering their release through laughter helps you recover from disease and allows the body to resist infection.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively & Laugh