Questions For All You Science Nerds Out There

Let’s get one thing clear.  I don’t know enough about science to be a science nerd.  I’m a science nerd wannabe.

Since I was a young adult, there have been certain things about our bodies that I’ve been inordinately curious about.  This is all totally G rated here.  Not to worry.

For example, I know that when we inhale deeply, we get more oxygen.  The assumption is that at that moment, we need more oxygen.  And when we yawn, we inhale a lot more oxygen, but then seem to expel a lot of oxygen, too.  Okay, so our bodies are still playing around with oxygen.

Burping is about releasing gas.  Hiccoughs (which I always thought was the “correct” way to spell it but it seems that hiccup is not a bastardization of the word, just the US usage, according to the Oxford Dictionary.  While I’m sure that on the other side of the pond they will say that it is a bastardization.  See I’m a language nerd.) are spasms in the respiratory and stomach something area caused by something.  My mother would have said caused by eating too fast and/or shoveling too much food in my mouth.

My point is, all of these things have a biological reason.

But what about laughter?  I’ve asked a couple of doctors about this and they haven’t been able to tell me.  I have two cousins who are doctors and I haven’t asked them, come to think of it.  I’ll do that when I finish this.  I know why we laugh.  We laugh if we think something is funny, if we are being malicious and are laughing at someone or we are nervous.  Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

But what is the physical reason?  It seems that everything we do, every move we make, I’ll be watching you.  Oops! Music interference there. But every physical movement we make serves a purpose.

Does laughter have to do with oxygen/respiratory systems?  Is it neurons in the brain? I don’t know what neurons in the brain do, so I just threw that one out there.  There must be a physical reason.

Try laughing right now and feel what is happening physically. I just tried it. Larynx, I think. No wait, lungs. My fat around my stomach moves.  Gross.

What’s the purpose of laughter?

About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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32 Responses to Questions For All You Science Nerds Out There

  1. Barb, you may have hit on the million dollar question. I don’t know of, or have I ever heard of a biological origin for laughter. I do know it can leave your body relaxed. Hey, maybe it is a natural muscle relaxant! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. any1mark66 says:

    Science nerd #1, seeing no other responses here. First may I say, bastardization is our thing! We’re the ones corrupting the Queens good English. So hiccoughs, hiccups could be auto correct issues on this site. But I digress. … laughter as a physical thing. Well, as a brain function, you are releasing andorphines into your body. There will be stimulating effects (clean thoughts please). We bond over things like this. Much like mom and baby with smiles. Same deal. Upon seeing/hearing laughter we’re far more likely to join in. It relaxes body tension. (Smile less muscles, then frowning). It lowers blood pressure. I’m not sure why you would breath deeper, but probably slow number of breaths down. We evolved to be social. Bonding exercises help that. Of course, my anthropology calls peaked at the evolution of sex. After that no one got as interested in other subjects.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bea dM says:

    I’m not happy breaking laughter down to a neuron/physical thing. Laughter is common to all peoples (I think?) and in my understanding, all the good effects are effects, not causes. I’m being very counter-science here, but isn’t it like we don’t really know where a thought comes from (we know all about where it dwells, what it does in the brain, where it goes, the little light bulbs that light up on a scan screen etc.). But where did it originate?

    Like

  4. Listen, learn, and laugh:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Maybe you’ll get some of your answers here: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/laughter1.htm

    I don’t have time to read it all, but I do know I love to laugh. And its health benefits are a nice plus. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Personally, I’m more concerned with the hic-ups. See I can spell it how I want because I’m a writer.
    I don’t like them, and I never want to deal with them. Not long go I coughed weird and had them for 36 hours.Tried everything. Warm honey and lemon juice. Breathing in a paper bag. After a while I though about sticking my head in a plastic bag. I know, don’t let your kids do it. Did everything the online “experts” recommended. But alas, only a brief respite while sleeping abated the dreaded and annoying goose-calling screech. Finally it just ended, not quite as well as an incident I’ll never forget when I was about 20. Had a brutal, unending bout while working on construction. A big burly guy walked up to me waving a 20 dollar bill. “I’ll give you this twenty if you hiccup one more time.” Nope. Couldn’t do it. Wish I knew where that guy was now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Blunderdad says:

    It’s the insanity leaving our souls. Don’t hold it in or, like holding in a fart, it will damage our innards.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Paul says:

    Speaking of hiccups, I haven’t had hiccups in at least 10 years, probably more. And now I’ve jinxed myself. As for laughter, I have no clue. All I know is we spell it out as “Hahaha” when really, no one laughs like that.

    Liked by 1 person

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