Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information. (Humor and Laughter: Health Benefits and Online Sources.)

Study using EEG topographical brain mapping of an individual hearing a joke: left hemisphere began to process the words. Then the frontal lobe center of emotionality was activated. 120 milliseconds later the right hemisphere began processing the pattern. A few milliseconds later the occipital lobe showed increased activity. Delta waves increased, the brain got the joke, and laughter erupted. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology. p 6-7. (interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk). Humor & Health Letter, Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec 1994, MS: Dunn.)

Under acute stress, the two hemispheres of the brain become disconnected. Laughter improves creativity and problem-solving, and activates the limbic system in the brain, connecting the right and left sides. It helps you do more whole brain work. (O’Donnell, Sinara Stull. Laugh More at Work To Ease Office Stress.)

Studies:

  • The left hemisphere analyzed the words and structure of the joke
  • The right hemisphere carried out the intellectual analysis required to "get" the joke

(Brian, Marshall. How Laughter Works.)

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