In an important new study from the forthcoming Quarterly Review of Biology, biologists from Binghamton University explore the evolution of two distinct types of laughter – laughter which is stimulus-driven and laughter which is self-generated and strategic.
"Laughter that occurs during everyday social interaction in response to banal comments and humorless conversation is now being studied," write Matthew Gervais and David Sloan Wilson. "The unstated issue is whether such laughter is similar in kind to laughter following from humor."
Using empirical evidence from across disciplines, including theory and data from work on mirror neurons, evolutionary psychology, and multilevel selection theory, the researchers detail the evolutionary trajectory of laughter over the last 7 million years. Evolutionarily elaborated from ape play-panting sometime between 4 million years ago and 2 million years ago, laughter arising from non-serious social incongruity promoted community play during fleeting periods of safety. Such non-serious social incongruity, it is argued, is the evolutionary precursor to humor as we know it.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
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For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
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Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
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Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
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