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E. Laughter May Be The Best Medicine

Narrator: This is Science Today. The old saying that laughter is the best medicine rings true when it comes to dealing with grief. Dacher Keltner, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley says people who could laugh months after the death of a spouse, functioned better years later.

Keltner: People who showed anger in their face and also contempt were actually rated as showing more grief severity one and two years later than individuals who didn't show those emotions.

Narrator: Keltner's study undermines the common assumption that those who show anger are working through their grief in order to do better later on

Keltner: The laughter shown in the interview was related to a measure of disassociation, that is distancing from physiological distress. It seems as though, as people laugh, they're removing themselves from the distress associated with the event. Is it as simple as just getting people to laugh? Our findings suggest that there are a lot of important psychological, physiological and, in other studies, health related benefits to laughter.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.