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People Can Distinguish Between a Polite Fake Laughter and a Genuine one: Study

Update Date: Jul 03, 2012 06:31 AM EDT

All of us, at some point or the other in life, have done it. We have all laughed out hard even though it was not genuine, but just to keep up our sleeve for those awkward moments such as a boss's bad joke or simply in an attempt to please someone.

However, while we think that we have more or less mastered the art of posing a fake laugh, researchers say, that even the best attempts to fake it cannot fool anyone.

A latest research has found that people are really good at distinguishing between a fake laugh and a genuine one, no matter how realistic it looks or sounds.

For the research, volunteers were asked to differentiate between a fake laughter (called "Social laughter" by experts) and a genuine eruption of one. The results showed that the volunteers were able to accurately differentiate between both kinds of laughter almost every time.

Also, brain scans were conducted on the volunteers differentiating between the laughter, by Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London, in order to determine how exactly the brain worked while distinguishing one from another.

Professor Scott, the author of the study presented today at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London, said that even though the laughter is posed, it is indeed a compliment and not an insult, and that is a fact.

"Most of our laughter is posed," she said. "We use it as a way of keeping conversation going, as a way of showing our friends we like them or impressing people. They know it's not genuine, but I don't know if they always mind. You are appreciating what they are doing and getting a positive affiliation going."

The brain scans of the volunteers revealed that a genuine laughter and fake one activate two separate areas of our brain.

A posed laughter triggers more brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, associated with problem-solving - as we try to work out why the person is doing it. Genuine laughter simply activates auditory areas in the temporal lobe - where we process all sound, reported Mail Online.

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