Why do people laugh?

Why do people laugh? (From the Economist) “Laughter is very contagious and this suggests that it may have become a part of human behaviour because it promotes social bonding. When a group of people laughs, the message seems to be ‘relax, you are among friends.'”

Update: Dave Winer says (and I agree): “Most laughs can be translated into this simple statement: Ain’t it the truth! When we laugh it’s because something is so true (for us) in such a deeply felt way that our body erupts. When we laugh together it’s because we share that feeling.”

  • Hudge

    I read once that laughter is “an interrupted defense mechanism” – at some point in our past, we decided to quit baring our fangs to attack someone or something and instead make a noise that dissipated the tension/anxiety they or it was provoking. Ha.

  • lcreekmo

    Laughter can definitely be threatening. You can scare folks with the right kind of laugh. It’s like the fine line between crazy and brilliant.

  • Hudge