(Mirror Daily, United States) – You can tell if you’re in the company of strangers or friends by testing your friendship with laughter, at least that’s what the scientists say. It seems that the way in which a person laughs can determine whether or not they are on familiar terms with the people surrounding them.
According to Greg Bryant, an associate professor at UCLA’s Communication Studies department, individuals usually talk loud and laugh even louder when they are in the company of friends, then when they are surrounded by strangers or mere acquaintances.
Laughter is a way of expressing emotions. When people laugh they show that they are happy, amused, they feel comfortable, and they feel safe around their friends. An honest laughter is not a shy smirk; it’s a sudden and prolonged burst, that moment when you can’t tell for a couple of seconds if the person next to you is laughing or choking.
But according to Bryant, that kind of laughter is usually experienced only among friends. When people are in the company of strangers, they react with more caution. That is why when they are told a joke, they respond with more reservations, smiling rather than laughing.
In order to get these results, Bryant, and Daniel Fessler, a UCLA biological anthropologist played 48 audio files taken from 24 conversations to 966 listeners.
The recordings contained conversations of long-time friends and strangers, alike. The people that were recorded were males and females and the conversations partners were diverse.
Bryant and Fessler asked the 966 listeners from all around the world if they thought that the people they were listening to were friends or not. They were also requested to assess if the people that were conversing liked each other or not.
The researchers found that the volunteers managed to guess the exact relationship between the people whose conversations they listened to in 61 percent of the cases. Furthermore, it seems that women’s voices and laughter are more predictable, the participants guessing the nature of the relationship between a woman and her conversation partner in 80 percent of cases.
The reason this better interpretation of female laughter comes from the fact that women usually laugh out loud only when they are surrounded by friends or familiar individuals. And it seems that people from China to Slovakia, Austria, Namibia, and Peru agree.
So next time you don’t know where you stand in a group of people, testing your friendship with laughter might be a good idea.
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