Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where do laughs come from?

Have you ever thought about where your expressed emotions come from?
Like, what is actually happening when you have a belly laugh? Why is it that when you feel upset or overwhelmed your eyes well up with water and leak?

It seems kind of weird if you think about it.
Because sometimes it doesn't even make sense the stuff that makes those emotions manifest.

So like, your friend tells a joke, or wait no, your friend falls down like a goof, and it's funnier to you for some inherent and probably ridiculous reason than it is to other people, and you are suddenly shaking from your tummy so much that it kind of hurts and there isn't really even any sound coming out of your mouth but you see your friend now doing the same thing and that makes it even worse and now you sort of have to pee. 

Or, so, you are listening to a song, and the way the instruments mesh together and the voices echo makes you think of some other time or takes you to some place that you can't quite put a name or time to but for some reason out of nowhere water is rising in your eyeballs and spilling out of the sides and you feel silly because other people might think you are sad but really you are just feeling. BUT, in fact, those drops spilling out have a distinct chemical composition that denotes crying, and not just watery eyes. Weird??
So I googled it.
Apparently, these types of observable emotions are considered to be one of the first types of human communication. But that's still kind of weird because, really, we don't have much control over the whole situation. 
Ok, so

Crying (also called sobbingwailingweepingbawlingscreaming, and blubbering) is shedding tears as a response to an emotional state in humans. The act of crying has been defined as "a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures". A neuronal connection between the lacrimal gland (tear duct) and the areas of the human brain involved with emotion was established.
Laughter is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is anatomically caused by the epiglottis constricting the larynx.

I think the psychology of it all would probably be more helpful, but then you get into theories and debates, and it's got to be subjective, right? Because there are things that make me cry that wouldn't make you cry. Still, it's interesting that we don't have full control over those emotions. It makes everyone human, together. Even if it is silly or occasionally inconvenient.

And then there are those times when they both take you by surprise at the exact same time and you can't even remember what exactly it was but something set it off and your stomach is in stitches and you can't see for all the tears in your eyes and now you most certainly do have to pee and you feel like you may never ever catch your breath again.

Those are the best.

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