Fake Laughing? Your Friends Can Tell
It's all about your breathing sounds, experts say
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 11, 2014 8:26 AM CDT
Others can detect our fake laughter.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If you're forcing a laugh after a bad joke, the teller probably knows it. Researchers found that people can identify a fake laugh two-thirds of the time: "Quite a few fake laughs sound pretty good, but listeners seem to pay attention to certain acoustic features that are really hard to fake," study author Greg Bryant tells Time. His team recorded real laughter between buddies and laughter forced on command, then played these recordings to subjects and had them guess which was which.

They could tell genuine laughter some three-quarters of the time and fake about two-thirds of the time. It's not the "ha" sound that tips us off to fake laughter, according to Today; it's the breathing sounds in between. It seems there are two vocal systems at play, one emotional and one tied to speech. Real laughter is rooted in the emotional system, which involves more of these breathing sounds. When researchers sped up the recordings, masking these sounds, participants were more likely to believe fake laughs were real. "Laughter is thought to have evolved from labored breathing during physical play. In this way, genuine laughter reveals our animal nature," Bryant says. (Also, this exists: laughing competitions.)

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Lou Bernardo
May 12, 2014 3:23 PM CDT
Joe Biden with the cheap false teeth comes to mind. His laughs are always fake.
politicalobsever
May 12, 2014 1:37 PM CDT
(Spongebob Square pants laugh) Hehehehehehhehhehhehheheheheheheheheh!
JERZJOE
May 11, 2014 10:44 AM CDT
THERE WON'T BE ANY FAKE LAUGHING but REAL LAUGHING... when the DUMOCRATS LOSE & the REP WIN BIG on NOV 4, 2014 &.the REP will 1-GROW the economy & create good-paying AMERICAN jobs!! 2-GET to repeal OBAMACARE & replace it with reforms that truly LOWER COSTS!!! 3-BALANCE the budget IN 10 YEARS,reduce debt & ease TAXES in the middle-class!! 4-PROTECT social security & medicare for current & future retirees!!! 5-STRENGTHEN the military, honor our vets & restore RESPECT FOR AMERICA!!! 6-FIGHT for our individual freedoms & defend the CONSTITUTION!! 7-SECURE our borders,oppose blanket amnesty & in-state tuition for those here ILLEGALLY & secure our borders first as part of any plan to fix the immigration system!!! 8- PROMOTE a culture of life & support notification for minors & a ban on late-term abortions & oppose taxpayers $$$$ to fund abortions.!!! 9-Then in Nov. 08, 2016 Gov. Christie will be prez!!!! and everything will be AOK in the USA on Jan 20, 2017!! THERE YA GO!!