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Science of laughter The serious study of what’s funny

Humour is a part of life, but very little is known about it scientifically. A Zurich psychology professor looks at what’s been discovered. (SRF Kulturplatz/

Despite the fact that humour is found in many aspect of life, it has only been the subject of serious scientific research for the past 30 years.

University of Zurich professor Willibald Ruch is recognised as the most significant researcher in the field of humour within the German-speaking world.

He explains how research has shown that humour can be used as a way of getting to know other people. Through its different manifestations we can collect information that helps us build an image of others.

Contrary to popular belief, it has also be shown that humour is not culture specific. What culture does influence are the taboos of what should and shouldn’t be laughed at.

Humour has also been found to be therapeutic for its ability to counteract opposite emotions like fear and anger.

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