Laughter Detector

I’m a poet and I show it – my feet are Longfellows!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

No offense, Dad – but Dad jokes are THE WORST! Sometimes you can’t help but laugh. Or…you might share the laughter — just to be polite!

Enter Roza Kamiloğlu from the University of Amsterdam and an international team! They wondered if shared LANGUAGE also means shared LAUGHTER.

Two hundred Dutch and Japanese volunteers participated. The volunteers listened to clips of spontaneous laughter and voluntary laughter from both Dutch and Japanese people. Spontaneous laughter is uncontrollable — voluntary laughter is produced on purpose. 

The subjects were asked to identify whether the laughter was spontaneous, and to judge whether the person laughing shared their cultural group or not. 

Results? More than SEVENTY percent of culture AND type of laughter guesses were spot on! Both groups also rated spontaneous chuckles MORE positively.

The study shows that a good laugh is all you might need to recognize a fellow home-towner!

Or … someone your Dad grew up with. Yeah – it’s still not that funny. Longfellows!

Reference: Kamiloğlu, R. G., Tanaka, A., Scott, S. K., & Sauter, D. A. (2021). Perception of group membership from spontaneous and volitional laughter. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 377(1841).