Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

Why Do We Laugh?

No Laughing Matter
WebMD Feature

Whether you snort, cackle, chortle, or have a wild, weird little giggle, you have a "laugh print," a personal signature that's too, too you.

Laughter is so basic to humans, we barely notice it -- unless it totally pleases or absolutely annoys us.

Recommended Related to Men

Klinefelter Syndrome

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Klinefelter Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Klinefelter Syndrome article > >

But laughter has power -- the power to energize the hum-drum, add levity to the everyday blah-blah-blah. Laughter carries such a social connection that it's a mating ritual, a way to bond. Studies suggest that laughter may boost our health.

Our all-too-human laughter sets us -- and our close cousins, the primates -- apart from all other species that roam our planet, says Robert R. Provine, PhD, a behavioral neurobiologist at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.

"Think about it the next time you walk through woods listening to the odd cries and calls of the creatures that live there: When you laugh, those creatures are hearing sounds that are just as odd and just as characteristic of our own species," he writes in his book, Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.

No Laughing Matter

Provine has spent a decade studying laughter. It's the best way to understand human behavior, he tells WebMD. "Laughter is a mechanism everyone has; laughter is part of universal human vocabulary. There are thousands of languages, hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way."

Everyone has the capacity to laugh. Children born deaf and blind are able to laugh. Babies laugh long before they acquire speech. Even apes have a form of "pant-pant-pant" laughter.

Laughter is primitive, an unconscious vocalization, Provine says. "In laughter we emit sounds and express emotions that come from deep within our biologic being -- grunts and cackles from our animal unconscious," he writes.

Do you seem to laugh more than others? It's likely genetic, he explains.

Consider this story: One set of "giggle twins," separated at birth, was not reunited until 40 years later.

"Until they met each other, neither of these exceptionally happy ladies had known anyone who laughed as much as she did," Provine reports. "Yet, both were reared by adoptive parents they described as undemonstrative and dour. These gleeful twins probably inherited some aspects of their laugh sound and pattern, readiness to laugh, and perhaps even taste in humor."

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed