Is laughter contagious?

Have you ever noticed how you tend to smile if you hear other people laughing? Or how you laugh a lot more at a film in a cinema full of people than if you were alone?

Well it seems we are indeed hard-wired to laugh along with the people around us.

In 2006 a team of researchers from University College London found that, whenever test subjects were played the sound of someone laughing, it triggered the automatic response of a smile or laugh.

The results for laughter were much stronger than those recorded when the subjects were played other sounds, for example, people didn’t start shrieking if they heard screams.

Find out why laughter is so contagious by watching our video below, and make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover lots more fascinating videos!

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Find the answer to more baffling questions in How It Works magazine. Order it in printdownload it onto your digital device or subscribe today to ensure you never miss an issue!

Plus, take a look at:

Can we fake laughter?

The anatomy of laughter

How does laughing gas work?