Many studies suggest that laughter improves learning and can strengthen one’s memory.  According to Mary Kay Morrison, the author of Using Humor to Maximize Learning,  laughter ignites high levels of activity in multiple areas of the brain, especially when used during instruction and teaching.

There are many physical, cognitive, emotional and social benefits of laughter, which directly impacts learning.  For example, laughter can:

  • increase the production of endorphins and dopamine (neurochemicals that evoke happiness) in the brain
  • increase relaxation
  • decrease pain
  •  reduce stress
  • increases creativity and problem-solving abilities
  • enhances memory
  • elevates feelings of well-being
  • reduces depression, anxiety and tension
  • increases self-esteem and resilience
  • increases optimism, energy and vigor
  • reinforces group identity and cohesiveness
  • creates happier relationships and friendships


“How Humor Makes You Friendlier, Sexier,” Scientific American
WellSphere, Stanford University
The How of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph. D.
“Humor, Laughter, and Physical Health.” Martin, R. A. Psychological Bulletin, 127(4).
“What Everyone Should Know about Humor & Laughter.” Berk, R.
“The Psychology of Humor.” Martin, R. A.
“Humor and Life Stress.” Lefcourt, H. M., et al.
“Positive Affect as a Source of Human Strength.” Isen, A. M. A Psychology of Human Strengths.
“Humor and Creativity.” O’Quin, K., et al. The Creativity Handbook.
“Effects of humor on sentence memory.” Schmidt, S. R. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 20(4).

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