Robin Graham

The sounds of laughter

(Taken from

I was reading an article on the internet about Scientists in Nashville, America, and their work in which they claim to have uncovered the "secrets of laughter".

They secretly taped the bursts of laughter from 97 men and women as they watched extracts from funny films such as "When Harry met Sally", and TV shows such as Monty Python.

And what they found was that women are more likely to laugh "in song" but men tend to "grunt or snort".

The woman who led the research, Jo-Anne Bacharowski, said: "One of the biggest surprises was the variety of sounds that constitute laughter." For example, "voiced" or song-like laughter voiced itself as chuckles or giggles and mostly came from women; and "unvoiced" laughter was made up of grunts and snorts and generally came from men.

A part of their study investigated the "vowel sounds" we make when laughing and they found that is was less of the "ho, ho" and "tee, hee", and more of the "hu hu " and "ha ha".

Ms Bacharowski said that she expected the findings to apply in other cultures and not just to Americans!

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