The Different Types of Laughter and Their Functions

1. Introduction:

Different cultures use different types of non-verbal communication in their day to day interaction. This form of communication is used to complement the verbal communication. The most commonly used type of non-verbal communication is laughter. Laughter is a vocalized expression of positive emotions, such as happiness, joy, love, relief, etc. It is a contagious physical reaction that is often exhibited in response to humor. Laughter can also be used as a weapon to deflect negativity and as a social lubricant to ease tension in awkward situations.

2. Different types of laughter:

There are different types of laughs, each with its own meaning and function. The four most common types of laughs are:

a) Polite laugh: This type of laugh is exhibited when we want to be polite or show appreciation for a joke that was not really funny. It is a forced laugh that does not involve any genuine amusement.

b) Genuine laugh: This type of laugh indicates true amusement and is often contagious. It is caused by the release of endorphins, which makes us feel happy and good.

c) Laughing at someone: This type of laugh is often used to ridicule or put someone down. It is an aggressive form of laughter that can be hurtful and mean-spirited.

d) Nervous laugh: This type of laugh is exhibited when we are feeling nervous, anxious, or uncomfortable. It is often an uncontrollable reflex that helps us relieve tension and calm our nerves.

3. The science behind laughter:

Laughter is a complex physical and psychological phenomenon that has been the subject of much scientific research over the years. The scientific study of laughter is known as gelotology. Scientists believe that laughter is controlled by the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for emotions. When we find something funny, the limbic system sends signals to the facial muscles, which results in the physical act of laughing. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.

4. The benefits of laughter:

Laughter has many positive effects on our physical and mental health. It can help reduce stress, improve our immune system, relieve pain, and even increase our lifespan. Laughter has also been shown to improve our mood, increase our sense of well-being, and make us more resilient in the face of adversity. Moreover, laughter is contagious – when we hear someone else laughing, it triggers the same response in our own brain, which makes us feel happy as well.

5. The role of laughter in communication:

Laughter plays an important role in social interactions and relationships. It allows us to bond with others and build rapport. Moreover, laughter can be used as a icebreaker in awkward situations or as a way to defuse conflict. In some cultures, laughter is even seen as a sign of respect. For example, in parts of Africa it is considered rude to not laugh when someone else is telling a joke. In conclusion, laughter is a powerful tool that can help us communicate effectively with others.

6. Conclusion:

In conclusion, laughter is a universal language that can help us communicate and bond with others. It also has many positive effects on our physical and mental health. So next time you’re feeling down, remember to laugh – it’s good for you!


There are different types of laughter depending on the situation. For example, there is polite laughter, mocking laughter, genuine laughter, etc.

Voluntary laughter is when we choose to laugh, while involuntary laughter is when we laugh without meaning to.

Laughter can affect our communication with others in a positive way by making the conversation more light-hearted and enjoyable. It can also help defuse tense situations. However, fake laughter can come across as insincere and make the other person feel uncomfortable.

We can fake laughter in order to appear more friendly or to defuse a tense situation.