Even through hardest of times, laughter has an unwavering ability to bring people together. A new study reveals how laughter affects brain, which may help to explain why having a giggle plays such an important role in social bonding. That’s because, social laughter triggers release of endorphins - often referred to as "feel good hormones" - in brain regions responsible for arousal & emotion.
So, what are these endorphins anyway? Endorphins are hormones that interact w. pain receptors in brain to help relieve pain & trigger feelings of pleasure. What is more, study revealed that more opioid receptors people have in brain regions associated w. processing of emotions, more they engage in social laughter. Results highlight that endorphin release induced by social laughter may be an important pathway that supports formation, reinforcement, & maintenance of social bonds between humans.
Endorphins might 'promote feelings of togetherness'. Researchers say that their results indicate that release of endorphins triggered by laughter might play a role in social bonding. "Pleasurable & calming effects of endorphin release might signal safety & promote feelings of togetherness," says Prof. Nummenmaa of Turku PET Centre at University of Turku in Finland. "Relationship between opioid receptor density & laughter rate also suggests that opioid system may underlie individual differences in sociability." While further research is needed to confirm these findings, study certainly provides an excuse to have a chuckle w. friends