Sophie Scott: 'Standup scientist' revealing why we laugh

Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT) October 15, 2013
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Meet Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London studying laughter. The "standup scientist" uses comedy to share her findings. Courtesy Sophie Scott
The 46-year-old talked to CNN inside the university's anechoic chamber (pictured), a sound-proof room where researchers record laughter, later playing it to people while scanning their brains with fMRI scans. They found no difference between how men and women understand laughter. Lauren Moorhouse/CNN
The team of researchers played YouTube clips to make people laugh. But they found people laughed most when they were with friends. In fact, we're 30 times more likely to crack up when we're with other people, according to Scott. Sheena McKenzie/CNN
They then played the recordings of real and posed laughter to people while scanning their brains with fMRI. "When people heard the posed laughter, there was more activation in brain areas associated with metalizing tasks -- ie. trying to work out what someone else is thinking," said Scott. Courtesy Sophie Scott