Why have we evolved to laugh cry? What can laugh tears teach us about the way our brains derive pleasure from humor?
I’ve laugh-cried since I was a child so I decided to turn my physiological quirk into a scientific study. Over 4 years I’ve collected over 100 vials.
For each vial I document the following:
Date and time of day
Cause of laughter
Type of humor (situational, physical, potty, etc.)
Human(s) present (name, relationship, length of relationship)
Presence of alcohol in the system
Do our reactions to various types of humor release different mood-altering chemicals in our brains?
Does situational humor or physical comedy have a more pleasurable effect on you?
What if we could improve our well being by introducing more of our preferred humor into our daily lives?
In 2019, I’ll be inviting others to collect their laugh tears and collaborating with neuroscientists and biochemists to understand the chemical make up of laugh tears and their effect on the body. What can our laugh tears teach us about how our brains work?
Referenced Studies + Articles
Effect of stimulus on the chemical composition of human tears. (Am J. Ophthalmol, 1981)
Proteomic analysis of human lacrimal and tear fluid in dry eye disease (Jae Hun Jung, 2017)
Laughter Punctuates Speech: Linguistic, Social and Gender Contexts of Laughter (Robert R. Provine, 1993)
Crying: They Mystery of Tears (William H. Frey, 1986)
Human Tears Contain A Chemosignal (Shani Gelstein, 2011)
Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccuping, and Beyond (Robert R. Provine, 2012)