Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 21 News List

Laughter as a force for world peace 笑出世界和平

University Professor Yoji Kimura (standing at the back) demonstrates how to measure laughter in Osaka on Feb. 20, 2008.


Japanese professor Yoji Kimura has invented a machine to chart out laughter - and a new unit of "aH" to calculate it.

"We have found that children laugh more freely, releasing 10 aH per second, which is about twice as much as an adult," said Kimura, a professor at Kansai University in the western city of Osaka.

"Adults tend to calculate whether it's appropriate to laugh and under those restraints they eventually forget how," he said.

"Laughing is like a restart function on a computer. Laughing freely is very important in the course of human evolution," he said.

Kimura, who believes in "a shift from a century of wars to a century of humor and tolerance," has studied the science of laughter for decades in Osaka, the hub of Japan's stand-up comedy scene.

In his theory, human laughter is produced in four successive emotional stages - letting loose, then deviating from the norm, followed by freely laughing and then having the laughter overflow.

"I believe there is a circuit in the human brain that creates laughter through these steps to the stage of overflowing," Kimura said confidently. "Understanding this mechanism is the door to resolving one secret of human beings."

To measure laughter, sensors are attached to the stomach, particularly the diaphragm, which detect muscle movements. The machine looks 3,000 times a second at electric elements normally produced in the body. It will be possible to distinguish faked laughter and different types of laughter such as derision and cynicism.

"I have a theory that humor detected in the brain gets directly discharged through the movement of the diaphragm," Kimura said. (AFP)



James: I'm going paintballing at the weekend with a big group of friends. Do you want to come along?

Kate: I've never been paintballing. Is it fun?

James: Totally. You get to run around, get splattered with paint, splatter your friends with paint...

Kate: It sounds like a gas. I'd love to come.

James: Great! I'll text you the address.






a gas 一件快樂的事

If something is a gas then it is very amusing or a lot of fun. For example: "I had a gas at Adon's party. There was a great crowd of people, and I made some new friends."

「a gas」表示某件很有趣或很好玩的事,例如﹔「我在艾頓的派對上玩得很開心,那裡有一群很有趣的人,我交了一些新朋友」。










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