Laugh At Yourself!

Most people have heard the old adage, ‘laughter is the best medicine’.  But could you truly enjoy a good laugh if it was at your own expense?  Many of us think we could and want to but do we really have the sense of humor that allows us laugh at ourselves?

Ursula Beermann, from the University of California Berkeley, and Willibald Ruch, from the University of Zurich,  studied 70 psychology students and gauged their ability to laugh at themselves.

However, this study was not all fun and games.  Research has linked optimism and laughter to improved health.  Understanding humor can be very important in one’s health and could shed light on conditions such as autism where the social skills required in recognizing jokes and the nuances used in certain jokes are lacking.

According to TIME Healthland, the study found that an individual’s ability to laugh at themselves had no bearing on how often they could laugh in response to the silly images of others. This implies that the ability to laugh at oneself is linked with our individual mood and personality.

Research Digest reports that Ekman’s Facial Action Coding System was used to decode the participant’s facial expressions looking for signs of true Duchenne smiles, which are symmetrical and involve creasing of the eye muscles.

80% of the participants flashed a genuine smile, but it was those that claimed to be able to laugh at themselves, and whose friends agreed with that statement, who displayed more frequent and intense smiling and laughter in response to silly images of themselves.

Therefore, being able to laugh at yourself is a distinct trait and linked to an upbeat personality.  Participants who were able to laugh at themselves were more cheerful and less serious overall.

What are your thoughts on this study?

Can a good sense of humor be learned or is it completely inherent?

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