Skip to content
Home » Sophie Scott on Why We Laugh at TED Talk (Full Transcript)

Sophie Scott on Why We Laugh at TED Talk (Full Transcript)

Sophie Scott

Full text of cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott’s talk: Why We Laugh at TED Talk conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Sophie Scott on Why we laugh at TED Talk


Hi, I’m going to talk to you today about laughter, and I just want to start by thinking about the first time I can ever remember noticing laughter. This is when I was a little girl. I would’ve been about six. And I came across my parents doing something unusual, where they were laughing. They were laughing very, very hard. They were lying on the floor laughing. They were screaming with laughter. I did not know what they were laughing at, but I wanted in. I wanted to be part of that, and I kind of sat around at the edge going, “Hoo hoo!”

Now, incidentally, what they were laughing at was a song which people used to sing, which was based around signs in toilets on trains telling you what you could and could not do in toilets on trains. And the thing you have to remember about the English is, of course, we do have an immensely sophisticated sense of humor.

At the time, though, I didn’t understand anything of that. I just cared about the laughter, and actually, as a neuroscientist, I’ve come to care about it again. And it’s a really weird thing to do.

What I’m going to do now is just play some examples of real human beings laughing, and I want you think about the sound people make and how odd that can be, and in fact how primitive laughter is as a sound. It’s much more like an animal call than it’s like speech. So here we’ve got some laughter for you. The first one is pretty joyful.

Pages: First |1 | ... | Next → | Last | View Full Transcript