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'No Laughing Matter? The History and Science of Laughter?'
Fri 29 April 2016, 13:00 – 14:00 BST
MARKET LECTURES PROGRAMME
'No Laughing Matter? The History and Science of Laughter?' by Dr. Tim Miles
Lecturer in Drama
Why do we laugh? It is, when you think about it, an extraordinary thing to do. Our stomach muscles tense, we make strange sounds, start crying, and maybe even lose control of our bowels. And all because someone has fallen over in the office. Laughing is usually pleasurable but being tickled can be almost torture. We laugh when we are nervous or afraid, or want to feel part of a group, or to have people like us. Laughter is very odd, and very human. The talk will consider historical explanations of laughter, from seeing it as a sign of the presence of the devil to a form of mental illness, touching on the ideas of Kant, Nietzsche, Freud and others, to more recent discoveries in neuroscience and evolutionary biology. What happens when rats are tickled? Will computers ever be funny? How may laughter fit into out earliest developments of language? Discover all this, and more!