Physiology of Laughter: What Creates the Wonderful Sound of Laughter?

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Laughter is unique movements of the face and body that are expressed due to amusement and sometimes contempt or derision. (Websters) But do we not need more than that? Do we not deserve to know more? Of course. Although laughter is something that we don’t ever really think about doing, it still requires a lot of our brain, lungs, and muscles. Laughing’s medical definition is a psycho-physiological reflex, a successive, rhythmic, spasmodic expiration with open glottis and vibration of the vocal chords often accompanied by a baring of teeth and facial grimaces. (Nieder, 2014). It simply means that no matter what happens, we can’t control laughter. It’s an involuntary impulse. In fact, it’s a negatively charged electrical impulse traveling through the cerebral cortex. However, I want to know more. What muscles produce the huge smile? What creates the wonderful sound of laughter?
Laughter is often involuntary. In fact, it is very difficult to fake it because it requires so many muscles. The main two muscles used in laughing are the zygomaticus major and minor anchor located at the cheekbones and go down towards the jaw. They both pull the face upward and the zygomaticus major also makes sure to pull the top lip upward and outward. Whenever we laugh, we also produce a sound. Whether it be a chuckle or a whole hearty laugh, we are still using the same methods as we do whenever we cough or speak. We use the lungs and the larynx, also known as a voice box, to make the sound of laughter. We don’t ever realize it, but whenever we breathe, air from our lungs passes through the open vocal cords in the larynx. Whenever the voice box is closed, air cannot travel. However, when the larynx is just barely open, it produces sound. When...

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...d improves our mood. Something we all need to do is laugh. It is the best medicine.
Laughter is a very complex process. We don’t ever think about it, but our bodies can use up to 80 muscles. Meanwhile, body structures and systems of the brain, such as the limbic system are hard at work also. Although it is a rather difficult method, whenever our body produces laughter, it helps us in more ways than just one. It can help us physically by releasing endorphins, lowering the chances of heart attacks, and even our immune system. It can help us both mentally and socially as well, building great relationships and by releasing stress. If the human race did not laugh, more and more people would die of things such as heart disease or even depression. Most people can agree, without laughter, our world would be a much darker place. It’d definitely be an unhealthy society.

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