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Laughter can make people more humane

Besides being a social lubricant, laughter can also promote altruistic behaviour, says a US study.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 19, 2007 16:14 IST

Laughing may not only be the best medicine, but as it turns out, it will also make you more cooperative, and humane towards strangers, a new study has found. The study, by researchers at the University of Kent led by Mark van Vugt was conducted to test whether or not laughter, besides being a “social lubricant”, can also promote altruistic behaviour.

As a part of the study, volunteers watched either a funny or a serious video, after which they played a game with strangers, to see how laugher affected the balance between group interest and self-interest during the game-play.

In the game, each person was given a small sum of money and told they could invest it in either a private fund or a group fund.

Money put in the private fund would be given back to them, and that put in an group fund would be doubled and split evenly among group members - regardless of how much each person put in.

The researchers noted that those volunteers watched a funny video were more likely to invest in a group fund. ‘This study may have important implications for the way charities or organisations could increase the level of received donations,” quoted Mark van Vugt, as saying.


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