James O'Brien is Leading Britain's Conversation.
What is going on in our brain when we smile or laugh? You can try not to smile but when you have to laugh you have no control over it. What's happening in our brain?
Name: David, East Winsted
Qualification: Read Naked Eye by Desmond Morris
Answer: It’s a primate response, halfway towards crying. It’s an empathic response, it is about looking at the downfall of others and expressing a cry to warn others as well as nervousness about you enduring the same downfall. That’s how it started. If a comedian tells a joke about someone’s downfall the audience laughs because they have a slightly empathic response to put themselves in that position and also basically being relieved that they are not having the same downfall.