Laughter is a critical part of human communication and people learn to appreciate some forms more than others.
When we hear laughter, we feel best when the laughter is genuine, involves the vocal chords, and is made with an open mouth.
Studying laughter gets at a deeply rooted form of communication among humans.
A better understanding of laughter could lead to computers with a sense of humor.
When you laugh, the whole world laughs with you -- as long as your sentiment is genuine, your vocal chords are engaged, and your mouth is open.
A new study found that people experienced the most positive emotional reactions when they heard spontaneous, open-mouthed laughter, especially if the laughter came from a woman. Breathy laughter made with a closed mouth didn't elicit the same good feelings.
The finding adds to a growing understanding of how laughing functions as a deeply rooted form of unconscious communication between people. By studying the nuances of laughter sounds, researchers may also eventually figure out how to design computers that can produce the right kinds of laughter in the right kinds of situations.