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On Tuesday 7th September we had the privilege of listening to Professor Sophie Scott’s inspiring lecture on ‘The Science of Laughter’. Professor Scott CBE, the Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow at University College London, began her talk with video clips explaining the vocalisations required for laughter to occur, from which she then went on to explain the neuroscience behind how and why humans laugh.

A prolific and awe-inspiring researcher, Professor Scott then took the audience on a journey through some of her most interesting findings; from the idea that laughter serves a social purpose in humans (we laugh more when we are with people we know rather than strangers, and laughter can reduce stress and stimulate connection), to the findings that laughter could, in the future, be used as both a diagnostic tool and a treatment. Her research has suggested links between a lack of laughter and psychopathy in boys, alongside individuals with depression and anxiety reacting differently to control groups to laughter and jokes. Whilst many other factors influence mental ill-health, it could be that the more laughter is researched, the more of a tool it could become.

The students and staff thoroughly enjoyed her lecture, and many left with an invigorated curiosity around human emotion and psychological research.

If you would like to know more about Professor Scott’s work, please watch and

Mrs Ellie Waldron, Head of Psychology