Giggling your way to good grades may be a possibility.
According to the results of a new study by Loma Linda University in California, laughter increases short-term memory in older adults, as well as reduces stress hormones, lowers blood pressure and increases mood state.
“Humor is very interesting as a research topic,” Dr. Glen Finney, division chief for behavioral neurology at UF, wrote in an email. “Laughter may be our way of telling ourselves and others to relax.”
Finney said the study highlights the importance of behavioral neurology and neuropsychology in understanding how humans function.
“(Laughter) may have to do with thinking about something more positive,” said Joanne Byars, a behavioral neurology fellow at UF. “It could be providing a different perspective on the world.”
The study of laughter is an emerging field, Byars said, and the Loma Linda study is a promising step for the future of behavioral neurology.
For students like De-Vaughn Williams, a 22-year-old UF food science and human nutrition senior, laughter could be a cure for final exam stress.
He said bringing laughter into his medical profession could be a smart career move.
“The biggest issue right now is being able to afford health care,” Williams said. “Laughing is free.”
[A version of this story ran on page 11 on 4/23/2014 under the headline "Laughing scientifically confirmed as good medicine, study suggests"]
UF telecommunication freshman Matthew Szlasa, 19, and accounting graduate student Jacob Sperber, 23, eat wings and share some laughs at Gator City on Tuesday evening.