Science

MRI Scan Reveals Four Regions Of The Brain That Benefit From Laughter

By Jose Paolo Calcetas , Jan 19, 2017 11:18 AM EST

Laughing may not be only good for the soul, but for you brain as well. According to a study, four regions of the human brain work when a person laughs. The said results were obtained using a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans among selected participants who were divided into three groups.

The first group was tickled on the sole of the foot, and were permitted to respond through laughter. The second group also underwent the same procedure, but were forbidden from laughing. On the other hand, the third group was asked to laugh spontaneously without any stimulus.

The results of the study revealed that during the tests, the first group activated four regions of the brain. These include the Lateral hypothalamus, Parietal operculum, Amygdala, and Right cerebellum. The Lateral hypothalamus processes feeding behavior, pain recognition, arousal, digestion and blood pressure. The Parietal operculum, on the other hand, take partial duties in terms of touch, sense and temperature. Meanwhile, the Amygdala processes decision-making, emotions and memories. The Right cerebellum takes on visual perceptions, imagery of status and language.

Results from the second and third group helped experts conclude that the brain's periaqueductal gray matter can only be measured during forced or spontaneous laughter. It cannot be measured upon suppressing the act of laughter. The periaqueductal gray matter is the region of the brain treated with implant stimulants to eradicate chronic pain.

The study published on Cerebral Cortex Journal also concluded that regions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex also accelerate its activities and releases endorphins known to increase a person's euphoria. Both the hippocampus and amygdala are also activated. These parts help the brain foray into processing deep emotions, survival instincts and feeding.

A similar study conducted by Dr. Kim R. Lebowitz also concludes that laughter greatly enhances a person's life, psychology, and health status. Based on their preliminary investigation, patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease improved their condition. They also concluded that laughter helped these patients obtain hyperinflation of their lungs, and showed fewer signs of depression. Likewise, another study featured in iTech Post also used MRI scans to measure the functional connectivity of endurance runners.

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