Photo credits: Casey Neistat
In this recent video by Casey Neistat we see some fantastic examples of both laughter suppression and mirror neurons in action.
Beginning at 7:43 - Neistat sits down with his wife, Candice Pool, and after a brief moment with mouthfuls of water, they break into laughter and spit on each other. Candice loses it first.
You may say, "That's just so funny... and I can't figure out why!" or something similar. Well, besides this scenario immediately and profoundly bringing out the inner child in us, it also activates our mirror neurons.
You don't have to know that they're husband and wife, but it's immediately very obvious that Neistat and Pool have affection for each other. But even if they didn't, not laughing is such a scenario would be extremely difficult. Pool loses her ability to suppress her laughter (and therefore holding her water in too) immediately after she makes eye contact with her husband (note how Casey says, "Don't look at me", as they fill their mouths' with water). If Candice had kept her eyes closed or stared off in the distance - she could have suppressed her laughter for longer. However eye contact - particularly at such a close distance - evokes an immediate connection with the other person - and the all the emotions leading to laughter undergo a rapid crescendo.
Intriguingly, the simple act of suppressing laughter or suppressing a smile (even if there was no initial stimulus for doing so) makes one more likely to laugh. This is why so many comedians will have a "just about to laugh" type facial expression - and via empathy neurons (aka mirror neurons) it primes the audience (and their selves) to smile and laugh much easier. Thus when Casey and Candice look at each other - Casey lasts about a second before she loses control and spits.
And as with many things, when laughter is suppressed - when it does escape, it becomes amplified.
Another profound phenomenon is exampled here. For people who can regularly and consistently make a partial (while sincere) smile, will find it to be a very reliable and powerful mood-elevator.
Our mirror neurons are activated too. And even thought almost no one watching this video knows either Neistat or Pool personally, we also participate in the crescendo - and laugh along with them. It's almost as if they put water in our mouths and bring us there with them.
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