Why do we laugh? 為什麼我們會笑?

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當我們聽到有趣的笑話時定會忍俊不禁。然而,這並不是最常見的“發笑因素”,最能引人開懷大笑的究竟是什麼呢?答案其實很簡單:與人共處。研究顯示,和他人在一起時發笑的頻率是獨處時的三十倍,而且人類並不是唯一能被逗樂的物種。

課文內容

詞匯:  笑聲

What makes you laugh the most?

While rib-tickling jokes and hilarious videos certainly do make us giggle, most of the time we laugh because of something much simpler: being with other people.

So much so that we are 30 times more likely to laugh when we’re with others, according to a study by neuroscientist Robert Provine from the University of Maryland. “When you’re alone, laughter basically disappears,” he told Smithsonian Magazine.

So, what is it about other people that makes us split our sides? The answer lies deep within our brains, and in how we form communities.

Laughter is a social emotion that we use to “make and maintain social bonds,” says Professor Sophie Smith from University College London in an article for the BBC. It reassures people that situations are non-threatening. Those who laugh frequently are also often more popular. Even in a normal conversation we laugh seven times every 10 minutes, she says.

Professor Smith also explains that laughter is very different to speech. It is non-verbal: the wheezing and snorting sounds are produced by air being pushed out quickly at high pressure, without involving the teeth or lips. These sounds are the kind we make when in a state of heightened emotion.

In this respect, laughter sounds more like an animal call than human language. This theory is backed up by tests which show the part of the brain responsible for laughter is not the neocortex used in language, but an ‘older’ area we share with mammals.

Indeed, chimpanzees, gorillas and even rats all enjoy a good chortle, especially when being tickled. Just be careful when you tickle a gorilla, or you might end up laughing on the other side of your face… (Did you laugh at that gag? Or did it just make you groan?)

詞匯表

rib-tickling 令人捧腹大笑的
hilarious 滑稽的
giggle 咯咯地笑
neuroscientist 神經科學家
split your sides 笑裂腰身,笑破肚皮
social bond 社會關系
non-threatening 不具威脅性的
non-verbal 非語言的
wheeze 發出喘息聲
snort 用鼻子哼
heightened emotion 高度激動的情緒
back up 證實,有證據支持
neocortex 大腦新皮層
chortle 哈哈大笑
laugh on the other side of your face (口語比喻)轉喜為憂、樂極生悲
gag 玩笑、俏皮話
groan 哼了一聲

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Why do we laugh so much when we’re with others?

2. How is laughing unlike speaking?

3. If I tell a bad joke does it make you split your sides or groan?

4. How do you make a rat laugh?

5. True or false? The part of the brain responsible for speaking is newer than the part used for laughing.

2.  請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處

1. I can’t stop _________ whenever Tim talks. He’s just so funny.

rib-tickling         splitting         giggling         groaning

2. He _________ his claim with photographic evidence.

back upped         back up         heightened         backed up

3. After running for 10 miles I was _________ heavily.

wheezing         snorting         chortling         tickling

4. Don’t you dare say that again or you’ll be laughing on the other side _________.

of my face         of your face         of our face         of the face

5. Police were sent in to deal with a _________ situation.

threatened         non-verbal         non-threatening         threatening

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Why do we laugh so much when we’re with others?
We laugh because it helps us make and maintain social connections, it helps us understand situations are non-threatening, and because it can make us more popular.

2. How is laughing unlike speaking?
Laughter is produced in a different way physically: by forcing air out quickly, without using the teeth or lips. The sounds made are similar to those we make when highly emotional, not to words. Laughing is similar to animal noises – and uses a different part of the brain to speech.

3. If I tell a bad joke does it make you split your sides or groan?
If you hear a bad joke you groan, which means to laugh awkwardly or in a forced way.

4. How do you make a rat laugh?
You tickle a rat to make it laugh.

5. True or false? The part of the brain responsible for speaking is newer than the part used for laughing.
True. The part of the brain used for laughing is an older part we share with other mammals. 

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處

1. I can’t stop giggling whenever Tim talks. He’s just so funny.

2. He backed up his claim with photographic evidence.

3. After running for 10 miles I was wheezing heavily.

4. Don’t you dare say that again or you’ll be laughing on the other side of your face.

5. Police were sent in to deal with a threatening situation.