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
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.