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The activity of laughing; the manifestation of mirth or joy, or, less commonly, sarcasm or scorn
Alternative medicine See Laughter club, Laughter therapy, Laughter yoga
Neurology Spasmodic and largely involuntary expirations often accompanied by inarticulate vocalisations, generally evoked by mirth
Physiology Laughter increases blood flow to the brain and activates neural networks—e.g., nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and amygdala. Functional MRI data suggests that the increase in blood flow to NAcc evoked by extreme humour is similar to that triggered by monetary gain or use of some addictive drugs; a key symptom of depression is the lack of a sense of reward from previously rewarding activities—e.g., humour
Psychiatry Laughter is regarded as the most effective coping skill for anxiety-panic disorders and may temporarily alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression


A series of inarticulate sounds produced as an expression of emotion, usually happiness or mirth. The role of humor and laughter in promoting a positive attitude and health and in preventing the progress of some diseases has been documented esp. when it is combined with proven medical therapies.

compulsive laughter

Laughter without cause, occurring in certain psychoses, esp. schizophrenia.

pathological laughter

Uncontrolled laughter (occasionally accompanied by, or alternating with, uncontrolled crying), caused by pseudobulbar lesions of the brain. These lesions may result from lacunar strokes, multiple sclerosis, anoxic brain injury, and other forms of brain injury.
References in periodicals archive ?
This is the Painter as anachronistic oaf, his heroic activity rendered vaguely risible.
Their enemies have accused Straussians of forming a cult, a charge that is risible when it comes from disciples of Marx, Freud, or Derrida.
It is risible that he and Home Secretary Theresa May refuse to do the same over claims that prominent figures in Westminster, Whitehall and Downing Street protected those involved in vile abuse.
FORMER secretary of state for Northern Ireland Peter Hain has said it is risible for key politicians to claim they had no knowledge that so-called comfort letters were sent to IRA on-theruns (OTRs).
if the pup-peteer producers and pliable panellists hadn't conspired to turn this competition into a risible Rylan-based joke you might have been spared the agony.
This was followed by government hysteria resulting in chaos on our roads and a risible statement from cabinet minister Francis Maude, advising the public to store petrol in their garages.
Foundation chairman Barry Winter said: "It's risible that private employers are struggling to recruit in the North because of high public sector pay rates.
Its flag-waving may be risible but the action scenes are something else.
How many front line services and public sector jobs could be saved if this risible legislation was dumped?
We deplore the emasculation of the BBC's coverage which, if this latest round of cuts is forced through, will make its claim to be a public service broadcaster risible.
IT WOULD seem that Gordon Brown is in desperate need of a significant injection of credibility after his party's recent gaffs and risible performances in the local elections.