This post originally appeared on RealSimple.com.
1. Contrary to popular belief, the number one catalyst for laughter isn’t a joke: It’s interacting with another person.
2. That’s because the modern-day ha-ha! probably evolved as a form of communication. Our primate ancestors used a similar sound—a sort of pant-pant—to reassure one another that their rough-and-tumble play was all in good fun and not an attack, says Robert R. Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the author of Curious Behavior, and one of the foremost experts on laughter.
3. One of Provine’s earliest experiments proved that just listening to recorded laughing could evoke fits of giggles in subjects (which is why television studios use laugh tracks on sitcoms). In fact, according to his research, you’re 30 times more likely to laugh when someone else…
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