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tv   Doc Film - A Natural History of Laughter  Deutsche Welle  February 8, 2018 2:15am-3:00am CET

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she's. worth saving and. those are big changes and most start with small steps global ideas tell stories of creative people and innovative projects around the world. to. protect the climate boost green energy solutions and reforestation. result of people you cannot protect the forest create interactive content teaching the next generation about environmental protection clothes. using all channels available to inspire people to take action and we're determined to build something here for the next generation. of global goods the multimedia series on. threads were boards one good see that what you were writing was that today's
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meeting with president bill clinton was going to be a disaster. but what did. the little. we were very well now for the first time i can tell you that your disastrous. two presidents laughed and the entire world laughed with them it is deliberate it was bridging the divide of language culture and politics laughter brought them closer than anything else. the.
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mainstream science long ignored laughter and even today many questions about the origins function and mechanisms of laughter remain unanswered. what is it that triggers laughter in the brains of primates medical science suggests that there is no single center in the brain responsible for laughter not activates a number of different regions including the brain stem and some more evolved areas of the brain. laughter is not simply a reflex it's a complex neural activity. laughter is a mystery that scientists are still working to decode and. these scientists are mavericks pioneers they think. today new field the science of laughter and.
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they're convinced that laughter is one of the important keys to understanding humankind and its evolution. roberts provan is a neurologist behavioral specialist and professor of psychology. for many years now laughter has been the focus of this research. and for years the biology of laughter has been something of a stepchild of scientific research it's something that regarded as a c.e.o. science something less than serious. world not ready for this office. but over history there's been a lot of concern it would work to avert most great philosophers have dealt with the topic of why after plato aristotle thought the open heart
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surgery. brought right up to the present all felt that this was something that had to be dealt with as. many people have tried to explain laughter in seven hundred seventy six the chemist joseph priestley discovered night side all . this discovery help to prove that laughter is a chemical reaction in the brain. in the eight hundred sixty s. french physician dish end of a long year use the new tool of photography to study the facial muscles and expressions involved in smiling and laughter. in one thousand nine hundred eighty two the naturalist charles darwin published the expressions of the emotions in man and animals. in his study you compared the behaviors of laughter in adults and children. and in humans versus animals. today no. to be studied and tool to at universities. for example at the university of
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maryland in baltimore. and all that profile and his students are investigating the mechanisms behind laughter. my main motivation was to learn about brain and behavior you know laughter is an ideal place to look first of all laughter is a human universal and if we want to learn about a brain mechanism we don't want this person to have it in this person not we want everyone to have it we want males and females to haue it members of every culture and everyone laughs and pretty much the same way so there's a good place to look. a little by little robert proton has established a methodology to understand and explain the phenomenon of laughter.
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hard to do that our first approach was to bring people in the laboratory situations such as this laboratory here show them comedy material get them to laugh and then analyze the laughter that was produced. because analyzing the laughter not only describes what that sound was but describes the behavior that produced it i'm. bettin you in love to isn't all that easy to achieve in the laboratory. present and realize that during his initial experiments so he decided to switch menus. now he's carrying out research in the university cafeteria a good place to find genuine enough to. and there are plenty of subjects here for his research providing just has to sit back and observe. quite.
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free test and every facial expression before during or after laughter could hold that. we found was very hording what a person said before they went off first of all the material was wasn't all joking perhaps only ten or fifteen percent of pre-law and a comments were joke like that all. when we started to attribute the sex to the speaker and audience some striking things started to appear first of all we felt that males were the best laugh getters both women and men laugh more when men are speaking to them then when women
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are speaking. this is also interesting because it's not because the men decide not to laugh because laughter is not consciously controlled so what we have here is the acting out of this kind of primal dance between individual different sexes. so when we're looking at these relationships we are getting insights there what people really think for example if a woman is standing near a man and looking him in the eye standing close to him and all laughing a lot is the very possibly fanning mating that the female is sending and unconsciously control message that she is interested in this person. this is. not to pursue this in other ways we had looked. personal ads in newspapers and
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looking at thousands of we find that a common theme of in search of ads personal ads of women is are interested in men with a good sense of humor. and when they write their ads off. describe their good sense of humor so we have the basis here in the sexual market. we humans are social animals provide has become convinced that laughter is at the heart of our social interaction. and anted we humans really love when we are alone well very. but the history of laughter is very hard to investigate and for good reason laughter leaves no trace no physical remnants of its existence so how can researchers go about exploring the origins of laughter. one option is taking a look at our nearest relatives the apes between humans and apes there is but
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a single step. we have to look on him in the netherlands to meet another scientist. is another pioneer in the biology of laughter his favorite place to make observations is at the zoo founded by his grandfather. and with has devoted himself to the study of social behavior and emotion in apes and in human. words doesn't carry out his observations in a laboratory he observes from. hi right here in this is. studying
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animals he needs a great deal of patience. well here we are in a while this is our observation cabin from a tree observed a chimpanzee here we have all our equipment. i have my video camera too to film particular shots i have my microphone in which i to speak to record the records of the behavior that of course occasionally you want to watch a little bit closer well in fact what we do people think. behavior is just a matter of sitting. in the case most of the time they simply groom.
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leap so it's a matter of a couple of hours a couple of days weeks of months to systematically. to call lect observations into our computers and analyze the. door. of has managed to decode the facial expressions displayed by great apes. expressions are associated with with fear and with fear takes his behavior. to one of the expressions that he identified the play face. relaxed open mouth expression and expression that's reminiscent of human after. he had the small one hits the big one. this couldn't be serious of course both of them showing a beautiful play face while still doing that he sticks it out while he's doing it
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the small one chasing the big one he gets a little kiss actually in response. and while the playing a lot of this is. this laughing sound. not the slightest reader that he has to fall off the floor. there was a lot of expression that puzzled me to mend a slate and that is the sign in betty's face which you find in many primates. in most be she's macaques for instance baring of duties is a signal of submission because he tell me i'm afraid of few it's derived from the fear of fate in the fifty's and that is the nearest to.
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push we have always thought that laughter and smiling are so to speak expressions on the same kind but all for different intensity laugh to being the high intensity form smiling a low intensity for off the seam i was fascinated to see that this means that what we call trend brault smiling has of quite different origins in evolution from our love to laughter playful initiative rionda playful mood we're going to enjoy always solved this is going to be fun where is the broad smile comes from don't fatah i'm friendly i like you don't be anxious i like you harry much. to the left you see the equivalent of our cheap smile to dry your c.v.
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for. a walk after fish. in the bath studying primate love to means finding ways to make them laugh that's where marina develop a neurobiologist from the university of portsmouth comes in she's visiting on him to carry out some reset is high up the board this is money another. reason i actually heard on chimp localization and what we've got to do is to see whether we can take our little. law.
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is a baby chimpanzee who is just four months old she's being raised outside the colony because the mother was unable to feed her. four of us caretakers tend to juma we alternate me to one of us takes one week at a time we bring her home in the evening we give her a bottle changing diapers and the next day we bring him back to work and of all the fuss you made. testing. january fourth. for you. where the ape or human the first laughs are always touching moments.
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infants begin to live at around four months of age but a fetus already smiles in the womb at seven months that gap in time is further evidence that smiles are distinct from laughter. when you tickle the baby or play. at the moment the surprising twist in the play for sequence occurs the little child will be with her. and that develops into food blown laughter which we as we grow up. suppress our appreciation that something for the. smarts and love to help establish emotional bonds and promote social intelligence
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long before a child learns how to talk. and the way they laugh out own individual style of laughter seems to be in. identical twins often have identical lumps even when they're raised. you know more you know you're. always the primal stimulus for human laughter in fact my candidate for the most joke is feigned turkle would be like i'm going to get you i'm going to get you it's the oh we joke that you can tell both were chimpanzee and a human baby. here
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is. an older juvenile. being tickled by a caretaker who has a very close relationship with that girl and that is very important. of course they're very they can be very strong individuals but it's also important when one interacts with a very young individual to have a close relationship to tickle during the to kings because otherwise it does not respond and that's to how it is with humans as you can see. the gorilla responds wrongly when speaking to code or even just touched. at his hands. he shows his head. he wants to be tickled probably also there at a later stage show says the shoulder. he shows his moods and then allows why he's being tickled ethan shortly before the speeding ticket he's already
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producing last year. the key issue in tickle is that you can't tickle yourself because part of our nervous system cancels out the input so if we would try to tickle ourselves by stroking our ribs part of the nervous system saying ignore that input inhibit that input because it's self produced so to be tickled someone else has to do it ask yourself this when was the last time you were tickled by a stranger. to be rather strong or to start you're more likely to call the police than work. for love to scientists to cling is unimportant. it might not be very sophisticated but it gets the job done. so. when i
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read road promo. work on. chimpanzees produce these so stuck had to like how vocalisations when they were being tickled i found that highly intriguing and how similar are they these vocalisations are to humans. that was about the time when i heard that bloody birds are able to produce certain vocalizations when they're being tickled and that intrigued me and. a lot of that i wanted to reconstruct the if you go off laughter by assessing all the great apes and humans. what we did was we collected it's a ticking song itself apes and humans and the ticking cells are represented here as sonograms. you see an orangutan. here
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that it's very deep and here's a song from the gorilla. and maybe you can already detect it's more complex sounds in here now this is the song of a chimpanzee. and here's a bone for example. and it's also quite shy. complex similar to the chimpanzee and there are also some similarities to the growth however there are stronger differences to their ranking tents which are also evolutionary furthest away from them and here's an example of the human sound. and what we did then when we had the acoustic day we used to just like
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geneticists use the acoustic data to reconstruct an evolutionary tree and what we found was that the tree matched exactly the genetic tree and that's revealed that all of the ticking vocalizations came from the same evolutionary origin which indicates that all of these folk loose ations of the great apes are laugh it's so therefore we could trace back the evolution of laughter to be at least ten to sixteen million years. that turns out that studying the transition from primate to human laughter now we told you how other primates are different than us but also explains why we can talk and other apes care about here's a case where laughter can be used as a tool to study vocal evolution. the key event.
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human vocal evolution turns out to be by peter you know who would have guessed it. the thorax is freed of its mechanical support function and this permits the second theory selection for making fancy sounds of speech. a lot of linguist or paleo linguist individuals interested in the evolution of language i think is miss this because their main concern is the evolution of brain mechanisms might have to do with grammatical processes and so on and they're less interested in lowly matters of breath control but turns out that breath control is really the secret to everything it started there. just a small step from laughter to speech. when humans stood upright that was
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a crucial moment human kind stood upright and spoke humans and apes share laughter income. but our other animals lower on the evolutionary chain also capable of laughter. to find out more we pay a visit to the pullman campus of washington state university. it's home to a neurologist who is fundamentally transform down understanding of animals. is also a scientist of laughter he's convinced that animals experience emotions that's put him outside the scientific mainstream but pensive believes that emotions and especially humor are a key elements of evolutionary to get emotions and love to he's convinced help drive evolution. you know no one has this. laughter and birds. known as
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described laughter and reptiles. so it is something that distinguishes us mammals and you know we cannot be sure that every mammal laughs in might be just some of them. up. play is that the center of punk steps research rats are a favorite research subject there is surprisingly playful animals. and it's really a wrestling match. to famous psychologist robert shake this is a lot ten years ago twenty years ago and rob was a great evolutionist. he hadn't ever talked about play and i said. i want to show you something in the laboratory. bottom of the lab and just put a couple animals together under red lights where they're very comfortable and they
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started wrestling with each other on and he was just amazed he looked at it and say how did to train the animals to fight that way. and. i thought in trying them evolution did and by the way they're not fighting they're playing. said plane. have to learn about that. play is one of those things that people say is frivolous this just for fun. well if it's just for fun it would not have been built into the brain play is one of mother nature's ways for us to learn about other people and to find ways to get along with them through play you can have fun but if you don't know how to engage with others there will be no fun and there will be a lot of sadness and
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a lot of psychological pain a bench oil and salt we have to cherish play. during the course of his research palace have made a spectacular discovery bradlaugh to. that. six six this discovery of the laughter was literally i woke up one morning and said what if that sound is locked when i went to the lab and my student jeff bergdorf was waiting for me i said jeff let's go to call some rats and he looked at me ok. and we took the first rat and there's church and church and church and it would tickle the second rat nature and church and the third and every rat of course other people were skeptical at that. we collected more and more data it all pointed in the same direction i know our attitude is you go with the data you know we don't go
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with logic the data tells you the nature of the world and we now know more about right there than we know. but human laughter at least in the brain it's just so. when the rats know it's not audible to the human in the grass emits a series of high frequency chuckles in the range of fifty kilo heads to hear a rattle off punk's it uses an ultrasound detector said we can stimulate there by stimulating specific parts of the brain. and every place you stimuli that you get a rat laughter which is kind of should you choose the animal likes it the animal will turn on the stimulation themselves so now we know it's a positive emotion. from. jason how is this
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any more true for a good responder who's actually even sure thing when you're older you know that we go. you've been interviewed right now you must want me. to if you stop please just leave your he knew in there after one of these turn. very gently you never hurt you is there a way of saying congress play. jack punks it is one of only a handful of scientists who study this controversial subject the emotions of animals so this our animal laboratory and we have two hundred animals here we have happy animals to have been bred for. a while after types of sounds and then on the other side there are animals that are not so happy. to not
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try or very much at all it turns out the animal spectra a lot and ones that are have a are very resistant to depression in the animals that. are sad and do not laugh as much or the truck has much they tend to become depressed more he's away. so what can we learn by ticking rats. so a study of right well can lead to a slender standing of the chemistry and the chemistry can lead us into new medicines psychiatric medicines that can make people feel better if they're feeling depressed we are still in a primitive area where we have walked so drugs for depression but none of them really make people feel good fast. so if we found one that was not addictive i think it would be a wonderful medicine for depression but. we humans have
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a natural remedy against sadness and depression laughter. love to lift sound mood and gives our immune system a boost and laughter benefits our cardiovascular system and helps lessen the impact of stress. well. you know laughter is a sign that your life is going well a life filled with laughter is a good one the question always comes up does laughter make us healthy. kinds of laugh yoga convinced of the benefits of laughter they laugh on purpose to reduce stress and improve their health and well being me. some laugh yoga practitioners amazing influence in you in france where the international school of laughter holds its annual symposium. they charge enough to to be taken more
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seriously the average adult spends just six minutes a day nothing in the one nine hundred fifty s. it was eighteen minutes a day. with. whom. and when the what if this is up to you to see if you will know make it. was laughter yoga is a fascinating topic that taps into the contagious nature of laughter whether we call it yoga or not basically we laugh when other people laugh was. enough to house release us from our individual and collective lauri's and it seems to be contagious but why was. this is a mechanism not only involved in linking people and groups together but may also
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provide insights into the roots of empathy. you know what are the mechanisms that allow us to share the feelings of other individuals contagious laughter is one of those places to work another one for example would be contagious yawning we can also ask the questions are individuals that are deficient in the bill you produce contagious behavior might they show schizo lloyd behavior might they be prone to autism in fact there's even some plymouth area evidence indicates that autistic individuals are deficient and their ability to produce these contagious acts so here using the unlikely tools of contagious behavior be it contagious laughter a contagious yawning we have something that's powerful socially powerful philosophically and also powerful clinically. the issue of contagious behavior also contributes to you know the concern with for example be so-called mirror neurons.
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mini runs on a discovery that may be directly linked to why not it's contagious not to find out more we have to explore the mysteries of the brain itself. ninety ninety two italian research has studying apes made an important discovery. and experiment with macaques jack on what it's about he was investigating the most in the ronstadt enable a very simple action grasping the peanuts. on the macaque sees the peanuts and reaches five that space the neurons and it's a repub call it takes. this new or no activity is indicated by sound. seen to one day it's
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a lot he picked up the peanut. the macaque is watching but then comes the surprise. and it's advice he hears the sound that indicates near and all activity even though the macaque isn't moving so the apes neurons are being activated simply by observing someone else's movement this market discovery of mirror neurons. it's a lot he is a professor of physiology and director of the department of neurons sciences at the university of parma in italy. there was no way we could have known these neurons existed. but our discovery was not a random but it was a result of our approach. others who studied the motor neuron system we took an ecological approach. and the monkey in front of us and we played with it
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the traditional research used to conditioning approach the monkey would sit in a chair in front of a screen when it moved it's on they would study the movement and how it worked. our major contribution was to use a very different approach we played with the monkey and that made it possible for us to discover something that no one suspected might exist if the chip is that it could you foresee. the benefit of the. just after the discovery of mirror neurons and monkey is the next step was to demonstrate their existence in the human brain. as. we've known for a number of years now and one a person sees someone laughing unconsciously at the same muscles are activated as
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if they were laughing themselves. the same thing happens when you observe another person crying. that activates your facial muscles as if you yourself were crying. that say if i walk into a room where everyone's laughing i'll start to laugh to see without knowing why. i asked. if we know but the. dream of in this case we don't talk about empathy but emotional contagion band here too we believe the mirror neurons may be playing an important role important that. the bat was. nervous when we first discovered mirror neurons we asked ourselves two questions what are they used for to understand what to imitate something or the result so that with
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monkeys they used for understanding with humans they used for both to understand and to imitate but it could be a ticket believing that this. to wait long mirror neurons helped make it possible for mammals to communicate emotion and to understand the emotions of others. over the course of evolution mirror neurons helped primates develop imitation skills which promotes social cohesion. so it's no surprise that humans the most social of animals possess and usually complex mirror mechanism and that the mechanism has a link to laughter. it's
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apparent that laughter is not unique to humans that discovery has helped us survive as a better understanding of the science of evolution. the researchers working in this field must be interdisciplinary in their approach and they're still pioneers because sometimes regarded with skepticism. some people say to me can i. i prove. that the animals have emotions. and my answer to them is that is not an appropriate question because science never deals in proof. science deals in evidence and at this moment in time. whether animals have the motions is supported by an everest of evidence. by looking at something like laughter at its biological basis we're looking at
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human universals things that bind us together that don't drive us apart so i think certainly it's not dangerous and it helps us to appreciate things that bridge bridge and a visual some different cultures and individuals throughout history and i think it's it's really important for that reason. we're learning now that animals. are complex ways to communicate with one another positively and that shows us that we're not only unique to make use of certain important social skills. if i were to come from the planet of must and i look at humans i would say that's a remarkable species not only do they build houses and and they have four reels b.p.h. they move but they're constantly doing these barking sounds hard. one another good
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to talk about how it's remarkable species everything is some franticly supported by our expressive day in that respect of course. developed almost much farther than any other primate. after has shown itself to be a fascinating tool to study the evolution of our species just as darwin predicted more than a century. we now understand that humans share certain basic emotions with animals . the study of laughter is also the study of what makes humans social animals what binds us together. and it's helped spur a new area of biological research the social nero's sciences laughter it would seem is a serious business. first
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they cheated on diesel emissions then they experimented monkeys and humans. folks wagon pieces global outrage again and again and still business is booming sales target ten million cars last year how do they do it can't be companies shrug off scandals. to get.
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out of out of the law succeed in dividing us about not succeed in taking the people off the streets because we're tired of the stick traineeship. taking the stand global news that matters. to us. story. makes us. when try to play a trumpet and smile. that you could. be a motion to play. the legacy every weekend on d w s. w true diversity place. where the world of science is at home in many languages. are being brought to.
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