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Biology of Buffoonery: The Role Science Plays in Making Us Go “Haha”

They say if a joke needs explaining, it’s not a good joke. But what about explaining the concept of a joke? Is there a scientific explanation for why we laugh at Will Ferrell quotes or involuntary burps or dogs barking at themselves in mirrors? Put on your lab coat and stream your favorite sitcom, because we’re about to go all Neil deGrasse Tyson on your giggle senses.

Believe it or not, laughing is quite the mental workout. When you hear a joke or observe a phallic-shaped object, multiple areas of your brain are activated including the frontal lobe and the motor cortex. With your neurotransmitters firing on all cylinders, letting out a billowing laugh can reduce stress, improve your immune system, and stimulate muscle relaxation. Not bad for a reaction to a meme of a cat speaking in broken grammar!

So how did this all come about? Researchers believe laughter to be a primitive noise our ancestors used as a survival mechanism. The earliest humans would chuckle as a way of diffusing tension among groups and signaling that there was no need to chop each other’s heads off and impale them on a stake. Over time, head impaling became less common, but laughter stuck with us as a means of social bonding.

You probably aren’t thinking about science too much when you’re laughing at a bar with your friends or screaming in delightful agony as your partner tickles you, but there’s science behind it nonetheless.

We all have sense of humor, whether we recognize it or not. Only 1 in 4 people describe themselves as funny, humorous, amusing or witty. But at Prank-O, we believe that those other 3 in 4 people have a funny, humorous, amusing, witty person inside of them that we have the tools to bring out. With a class clown spirit and a sharp attention to detail, we breathe life and laughter into the stale tradition of gift-giving by empowering our customers to bring out their inner jester.

Now go forth and laugh as science intended!

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