Socially, alcohol consumption is associated with relaxation, especially for people who have multiple worries in life, mental blocks and other obstacles that prevent them from living in a tranquil way. For some, talking to a stranger can be a titanic task that is resolved with certain simplicity after having a drink.

This idea, however, could soon be thrown into doubt in the light of a scientific study suggesting that laughter is a better social lubricant than alcohol, an idea that is perhaps controversial but that in some ways seems sensible.

The research was led by Alan Gray, of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at London’s Global University, and consisted of showing groups of four people three videos: one, a fragment of the BBC documentary series Planet Earth; another, an instructional video on how to play golf, and thirdly part of a stand-up routine by English comedian Michael McIntyre. After watching the videos, the participants had to write five brief texts with a personal story they wished to share with their companions.

Among the results obtained were the fact that, after watching the comedy video, the majority of the participants shared stories with more personal or intimate details, in comparison with the effect produced by the other two videos. One of the participants, for example, said that she had broken her collarbone in January during a pole-dancing class.

According to Gray and his colleagues, this could be explained by the endorphins and other substances released by our bodies as a result of laughter, a neurochemical cocktail that provokes a state of relaxation and trust that we do not always have. Laughter, according to this research, could be one of the best social vehicles for “amplifying and speeding intimacy and creating the conditions for durable social bonds.”

Now that you know this, will you put the hypothesis to the test in your own relationships?

Socially, alcohol consumption is associated with relaxation, especially for people who have multiple worries in life, mental blocks and other obstacles that prevent them from living in a tranquil way. For some, talking to a stranger can be a titanic task that is resolved with certain simplicity after having a drink.

This idea, however, could soon be thrown into doubt in the light of a scientific study suggesting that laughter is a better social lubricant than alcohol, an idea that is perhaps controversial but that in some ways seems sensible.

The research was led by Alan Gray, of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at London’s Global University, and consisted of showing groups of four people three videos: one, a fragment of the BBC documentary series Planet Earth; another, an instructional video on how to play golf, and thirdly part of a stand-up routine by English comedian Michael McIntyre. After watching the videos, the participants had to write five brief texts with a personal story they wished to share with their companions.

Among the results obtained were the fact that, after watching the comedy video, the majority of the participants shared stories with more personal or intimate details, in comparison with the effect produced by the other two videos. One of the participants, for example, said that she had broken her collarbone in January during a pole-dancing class.

According to Gray and his colleagues, this could be explained by the endorphins and other substances released by our bodies as a result of laughter, a neurochemical cocktail that provokes a state of relaxation and trust that we do not always have. Laughter, according to this research, could be one of the best social vehicles for “amplifying and speeding intimacy and creating the conditions for durable social bonds.”

Now that you know this, will you put the hypothesis to the test in your own relationships?

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