Laughing is a reaction to certain stimuli. It may ensue from hearing a joke, being tickled, or other stimuli. Most commonly, it is considered a visual expression of a number of positive emotional states, such as joy, mirth, happiness, relief, etc. However on some occasions it may express other emotions, such as embarrassment, apology or confusion ("nervous laughter)" or courtesy laugh.

Laughter is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group — it signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seen as contagious, and the laughter of one person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. This may account in part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows.

The study of humor and laughter, and its psychological and physiological effects on the human body, is called gelotology.

Read more about Laughter:  Nature of Laughter, Laughter and The Brain, Laughter and Health, Causes, Human Laugh Structure and Anatomy, Negative Aspects, Laughter in Literature

Other articles related to "laughter":

Laughter, Tears And Rage - Personnel
... Cook Phil Palmer Chris Senior – piano on "Theme from Laughter" Casbah – scat on "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" (credited to Lucky Gordon on box set) David Bedford – string arrangements on "Snobbery ...
Laughter In Animals
... Laughter in animals other than humans describes animal behavior which resembles human laughter ... of the physiological processes involving laughter or smiling reflex (response) and its grades, degrees or spectrum varies according to phylogenetic development ...
Laughter In Animals - Rats
... certain areas of the body that generate more laughter response than others ... The laughter is associated with positive emotional feelings and social bonding occurs with the human tickler, resulting in the rats becoming conditioned to ... comparing rats and their relationship to the joy and laughter commonly experienced by children in social play ...
Laughercize - History
... In the course of researching a TV documentary about laughter, Nerenberg told Hour Magazine he learned more about how "laughter protects people against heart ... By combining contagious laughter techniques with exercise, Nerenberg created Laughercize, a set of exercises that trigger natural contagious reactions that can ... was influenced by the development of Laughter Yoga and Improvisational Theater ...
Laughter Knights - Plot
... In an attempt to give the audience more laughter in the most authentic way, there would be pleasant variations, unlike The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (TGILC) ... The participants of Laughter Knights will be the finalists of TGILC I - IV ... The familiar faces, Siddhu and Mandira Bedi will grace the show with their never ending laughter and one of their kind comments ...

Famous quotes containing the word laughter:

    The laughter of man is more terrible than his tears, and takes more forms—hollow, heartless, mirthless, maniacal.
    James Thurber (1894–1961)

    Like dreaming, reading performs the prodigious task of carrying us off to other worlds. But reading is not dreaming because books, unlike dreams, are subject to our will: they envelop us in alternative realities only because we give them explicit permission to do so. Books are the dreams we would most like to have, and, like dreams, they have the power to change consciousness, turning sadness to laughter and anxious introspection to the relaxed contemplation of some other time and place.
    Victor Null, South African educator, psychologist. Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure, introduction, Yale University Press (1988)

    The weeping of an heir is laughter in disguise.
    Publilius Syrus (1st century B.C.)