Entries in Laughing (5)


Nothing Funny About Self-Deception, Researchers Say

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- Everyone enjoys a good laugh now and then. Well, almost everyone, according to a Rutgers University study.

As you’ve probably discovered, there are people who just don’t see the humor in anything. Take them to a comedy club and you may as well have left them in the car because they’re just not going to crack a smile no matter what.

Rutgers anthropologists Robert Lynch and Robert Trivers claim the problem with non-laughers is that they are masters in self-deception, that is, they don’t pick up on the absurdities in life. As a result, these seemingly joyless people are missing out on what the rest of us might find hilarious.

Lynch and Trivers explain, “Humor often involves seeing something from a novel angle, with surprising and pleasing effects. But if you are practicing self-deception and blocking out certain angles, you will, when these angles are exposed, fail to see the absurdity and fail to enjoy the humor.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Does Humor Make You Frisky? Works for Most

Fuse/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Who knew humor could be an aphrodisiac?  A new survey finds 87 percent of men and 74 percent of women saying humorous flirtation can get them in the mood for sex.  April is National Humor Month, and in honor of the occasion, the social network surveyed 700 U.S. adults about the role of humor in relationships.

Additional findings from the survey:

  • 64 percent of respondents agree that besides having good chemistry a "sense of humor" is the most important quality for a successful relationship.
  • 43 percent of respondents favor a partner who has a “goofy” sense of humor, while 29 percent prefer a person with a dry or witty humor.
  • 15 percent of those polled do not care for bathroom humor, while seven percent do not like sarcasm.  Another 7 percent do not care for self-deprecating humor.
  • 59 percent of women report they’ve had their feelings hurt by a “joke gone bad” by a significant other. Only 40 percent of men have had their feelings hurt by a partner's joke that went too far.
  • 72 percent of women say if someone didn’t make them laugh on a first date, they would still give the person a second chance.
  • 87 percent of men say they would give their date a second chance if they failed to make them laugh on the first date.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Men Get More Laughs Than Women, But Not By Much

Peter Kramer/NBC(NEW YORK) -- The Tina Feys, Amy Poehlers and Kristen Wiigs of the world are getting a hearty laugh from this new study.

The research, published in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, found that men are funnier than women. But before men get too comfortable in their winning role, the margin between the more and less funny genders was small.

“There is some shred of truth to the received wisdom about men being funnier, but it does not come close to explaining how much funnier they think they are,” said study author, Laura Mickes, a postdoctoral researcher in the UC San Diego department of psychology. “The stereotype that males are funnier than females has always puzzled me, because in my experience, and my intuition was that, we are equally funny.  I know I am.”

“Even more surprising, though, is that it was pretty much just other males who found males funnier,” said Mickes.

During the first phase of the study, male and female USC student participants were told to fill out blank New Yorker cartoons and create several captions as funny as possible.

Thirty-four men and 47 women were then instructed to rate the funnier of two random captions matched together in a tournament-style rating system.

Captions were then scored on a 5-point system based on how far they got in the tournament. True, men did better, but not by much.  They received an average of .11 more points more than the female writers. But, when broken down even further, women gave an average of .06 points more to male writers, but men gave .16 more points to the male writers.

Authors noted that men used vulgarity and sexual humor slightly more than their female counterparts.

But, here’s the annoying part, ladies: In the second phase of the study, the unfunny cartoons were more misattributed to women and the funny captions were more often mistaken as being written by men.

“I think the results do suggest that our thinking that men are much funnier makes us remember them as having been funnier,” said Mickes. “Lots of stereotypes can work that way. We are conducting follow up experiments in which we are measuring more aspects of why men do appear to have some humor advantage. For example, do they try harder, more often, in more contexts?”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Scientists Hint at Why Laughter Feels So Good

BananaStock/Thinkstock(OXFORD) -- Laughter has long been suspected as a source of health and well-being, but it has been hard to actually definitively pinpoint why this is.

According to The New York Times, Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford, argues that it is the physical act of laughing that explains why it feels so good. He says that it is the muscular exertions that are involved in producing laughter that triggers an increase in endorphins.

His findings also fit in well with the idea that laughter contributes to group bonding and the evolution of highly social humans. Dr. Dunbar describes social laughter, as relaxed and contagious as it is, as “grooming at a distance.”

As part of his research, in five sets of students in the laboratory and one field study at comedy performances, Dr. Dunbar and his colleagues tested resistance to pain both before and after social laughter.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, eliminated any inclination that the pain resistance measured was the results of a sense of well-being, rather than the actual laughter.  

When analyzed, these results showed that laughing did increase pain resistance, whereas mere good feeling in a group setting did not.

Dr. Dunbar also concluded that endorphin activation comes from laughter, rather than the other way around.  He also believes that laughter was favored by evolution because it helped to bring groups together, just as physical activities such as dancing and singing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newly Approved Drug May Help Patients Control Laughing, Crying Outbursts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Last Friday, after more than four years of review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first and only therapy designed to improve symptoms of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA), a neurological disorder that causes involuntary laughter and sudden, uncontrollable crying in patients.

The new medication, Nuedexta from Avanir Pharmaceuticals in Aliso Viejo, Calif., combines the over-the-counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan with quinidine, a generic drug used to restore normal rhythms to erratically beating hearts.

In clinical trials, Nuedexta was safe, reduced the frequency and severity of PBA episodes, and showed a significant advantage over a placebo. But in 2006, the FDA expressed concerns that higher doses of the drug combination raise the risks of dangerous cardiac rhythms. By reducing the doses of quinidine from 30 milligrams to 10 milligrams, Avanir satisfied the FDA's concerns about cardiac risks. In a Phase III clinical trial of the drug with MS patients, half the study participants who got the drug reported no PBA episodes in their last two weeks of the study.

"This is wonderful news for all the patients who suffer from PBA," said Dr. Erik Pioro, a Cleveland Clinic neurologist who specializes in ALS and related disorders. "They will now have an effective, safe, and well-tolerated treatment for this distressing and extremely isolating condition."

In the absence of something better, doctors have treated PBA with off-label prescriptions for antidepressants or levodopa, which boosts levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. But these have a range of side effects and haven't been subjected to large studies in PBA patients.

Avanir plans to make the drug available in the first quarter of 2011, said CEO Keith Katkin, and will start by providing 30-day samples to select doctors who treat PBA.  Avanir estimates the drug will run $3,000 to $5,000 a year for patients, or about $250 a month.  Patients with limited incomes will get the drug free through a patient assistance program, Katkin said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio