Robert Provine, Psychology, in the Salt Lake Times and “Discovery News”

For years, researchers have been studying laughter, its causes and purpose. Much has been learned, but there is still much to study. “All language groups laugh ‘ha-ha-ha’ basically the same way,” said Robert Provine, professor of psychology. “Whether you speak Mandarin, French or English, everyone will understand laughter. There’s a pattern generator in our brain that produces this sound.”

The article, “To Scientists, Laughter is No Joke,” appeared May 4 and was updated September 9 in the Salt Lake Times.

On September 15, Provine provided some insight on the study of contagious yawning to the Discovery Channel’s “Discovery News” blog. Studies have shown that yawing is an ancient form of empathy and social bonding. According to Provine, fetuses begin yawning in the womb as early as 11 weeks after conception.

“Yawning is a really big deal,” Provine said. “We’re dealing with something ancient, deep and at the very root of our being. And psychologists have basically ignored it.”

The article, “Why is Yawning Contagious?” appeared September 15 on “Discovery News.”

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