Why do we laugh? Is it really all about comedy and humour? Can we ever take laughter seriously? In this talk, Professor Sophie Scott will explore the evolutionary roles of laughter and explore its use by mammals.
The lecture will establish the complex ways that humans use laughter, from social bonding to jokes, address how we learn to laugh, and how our understanding of laughter changes as we age.
Professor Scott will then go on to discuss individual differences in laughter and what this may mean, explore the brain basis of laughter, and look at laughter as a communicative behaviour. Finally, the talk will establish the ways that laughter can be used, jointly, to regulate stressful situations, and the kinds of relationships where this use of laughter may be possible.
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Professor Sophie Scott is a British neuroscientist, Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow at University College London, and a pioneering researcher in the science of laughter. She was the recipient of a Provost’s Award for Public Engagement in 2012, and her 2015 TED talk: ‘Why we Laugh’ has been viewed more than 3 million times.
Professor Scott’s research investigates the cognitive neuroscience of voices, speech and laughter – particularly speech perception, speech production, vocal emotions and human communication. As deputy director of the University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Sophie seeks out the neurological basis of communication, whether it’s speech or vocalized emotion. In her spare time, she is a stand up comedian with UCL’s bright club.