Kreifelts and colleagues from several institutions in Germany investigated the role of laughter in embaressment using fMRI. They let people with more or less social anxiety listen to laughter. They found that several cerebral activation patterns mediated the influence of social anxiety on laughter perception. Read more.
Seven researchers from the Swiss Paraplegic Research studied variables influencing life satisfaction in patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). They found that purpoase in life and general self-efficacy were inportant predictors. Other predictors with lower effects were avoidance and active and humorous coping. Read More.
In an observational study in Australian nursing homes for the elderly, Low and colleagues studied the effects of a 9-12 weekly ElderClown sessions on happiness and agitation. they found that humor therapy decreased agitation and increased happiness. Read more.
Jeffrey Goldstein, co-organizer of the conference, told me that Peter McGraw investigated which cities in the United States should be considered funniest or unfunniest. The funniest city seems to be Chicago. Looking at the map, there seems to be a quite clear division between the north (ten funniest cities) and the south (ten unfunniest cities). Read more about this study in the New York Times article.