Neuroscientist Sophie Scott gave a fantastic talk on the science of laughter for a recent TEDx event that you can now watch online.
Talks on the science of humour are famously humourless (usually made all the more dire by the desperate inclusion of some not very funny ‘funny cartoons’) but this discussion of laughter is appropriately delightful.
Scott describes a study her team carried out on the cross cultural recognition of non-verbal vocal sounds (like whoops of triumph) to find that only laughter was universal.
The whole talk is fully of such fascinating snippets, tackling both the social psychology and neuroscience of laughing. Well worth ten minutes of your time.