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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
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
In this connection, it should be pointed out that these two texts first garnered attention among Western scholars; Arab scholars quickly responded with their own probe, appraisal, and publication of Brains Confounded, but Risible Rhymes, now made available for the first time, has been long neglected in the Arab literary world.
What seems equally risible is that the mother of the heir to the throne shoulddash around with a tape machine to record the poor guy's every fantasy even at his hospital bedside.
Because kinetic art was (wrongly) perceived as an art based almost entirely on easy optical tricks, it would soon be trashed as utter kitsch, on a par with such risible by-products as the Courreges dress and the lava lamp.
The idea that all pre-existing traditions or values are, by definition, unprogressive baggage is as philistine as it is risible. Values dismissed as conservative are actually universal: attachment, commitment to individuals and institutions, ties of duty, trust and fidelity, the distinction between constructive and destructive behavior.
Consider two risible objects, Woody Allen and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center.
When ill, Hawthorne's King is by turns risible, alarming and irritating, but fortunately does not often cry out for anyone's sympathy.
He alternated serious passages--history, statistics, description, explanation, argumentation--with risible ones.
In his latest letter (Journal Letters, February 15) he criticises the point that the EU has helped keep the peace in Europe for 70 years as "risible."
OUR mealy mouthed legislators are 'considering' raising the price of disposable plastic bags from a risible five pence to a risible ten pence in a flaccid gesture intended to protect the environment.
The Tories' claim to value law and order is risible when the party has failed to co-operate fully with the investigation into the suicide of Elliott Johnson and when suspicion is growing Theresa May called the snap election before a group of her MPs risk criminal charges over claims they fiddled expenses in the 2015 poll.