Laughter helps the heart

Girls Laughing: Photo by spanishgirl_in_oxford
Girls Laughing: Photo by spanishgirl_in_oxford

Researchers at the University of Maryland conducted an experiment to see what impact laughter has on the heart. The researchers showed clips from comedies and from dramas to 20 volunteers. They then compared measurements of blood flow before viewing the clips, and a minute after viewing the clips. After gathering 160 measurements of blood flow from the brachial artery the researchers found that when comparing the amused or stressful states brought on by film clips, more than 50 percent more blood flowed when laughing. They concluded that increased blood flow from laughter compared favorably to increased blood flow from light exercise or cholesterol lowering drugs. The researchers published their findings in the journal Heart. Gene referenced a similar study in his blog this past April.

Meanwhile, researchers at Westfield State College and McMaster University conducted two studies that examined the long held stereotype that guys like women who laugh at their jokes, and women like men they think are funny. In the first experiment 200 volunteers were given photos of persons of the opposite sex. The photos had either humorous or dull quotes beneath them. Women ranked photos with humorous quotes beneath the photos as better potential partners than those with dull quotes. The men's ranking of the women's photos was not influenced by the quotes underneath them.

In a second study, 130 volunteers were asked to imagine two people of the opposite sex - one who was funny themselves, and one who appreciated other people's humor. When asked which person they would choose for a relationship, women usually chose the imaginary funny guy, while men chose the women who appreciated their sense of humor. While the findings are from a relatively small sample from a limited area, there is some thought that the reason women prefer men they think are funny is because their humor is a sign that they have a healthy and active brain - and therefore have a better chance of having healthy offspring.

Personally, I don't know how much I buy into this - I don't picture our distant relatives pulling a Seinfield-like routine ("What's the deal with fire anyway?"), but I guess I could see them being good at physical comedy...but I am not sure that would be endearing. Perhaps this trait is just cultural or regional? What do you think? If you're interested in learning more about romance related science check out the Café Scientifique on Valentine's Day from 6-8pm at the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown.

We've heard that laughter is the best medicine - and it looks like that's being found true for your heart - in more ways than one.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

very interesting

posted on Sat, 01/28/2006 - 8:05pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I love to laugh. It makes me fell good .

posted on Fri, 05/05/2006 - 10:25am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Fri, 05/05/2006 - 10:26am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i laugh a lot.i am in 1 grade

posted on Fri, 05/05/2006 - 10:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

how cute!!

posted on Mon, 01/22/2007 - 8:21pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

socccer is better

posted on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 12:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

nice picture\r\n

posted on Sat, 02/04/2006 - 2:40pm
Miriah's picture
Miriah says:

It's true, if a man can make me laugh it is much more likely I will be much more attracted to him. To me the key to life is to be able to laugh at yourself and others; this ability is a gift. Hahahahahha :)

posted on Sat, 02/11/2006 - 8:06pm
Bob A.'s picture
Bob A. says:

Laughter is absoltely nesscessary to our cultur. Without it, we'd all be oppressed. Hallelujah!

posted on Sun, 03/12/2006 - 4:43pm
Alana's picture
Alana says:

I did not know that but its realy cool

posted on Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:05pm
Mua's picture
Mua says:

Laughing is one of my favourite hobbies and it is so good to know that it really helps...

posted on Mon, 06/25/2007 - 11:27pm

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