Narrator: This is Science Today. Laughter has often been linked to good physical and emotional health. But such positive emotion during bereavement has never before been thought to be healthy. That is until University of California, Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner found people who could laugh six months after the death of a spouse, did much better later on in the grieving process than those who showed anger.
Keltner: Clinical practice may dwell on sort of revisiting the negative emotions and anger and injustice about a death. Our findings raise a question which is, we need to address whether that's a healthy practice or not and ours is some of the first evidence that raises that question of whether this is a salutary practice.
Narrator: Other studies have shown laughter improved functioning in those with breast cancer, marital stress and job-related problems.
Keltner: So I think our findings fit into a very nice clinical literature that attests to the benefits of laughter.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.