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Laughing Loud? It’s in Your Genes!

Sometimes people laugh too quickly and louder at the whip of a simple and undeserving joke. But now scientists are able to find a link to your own genes to smile, laugh or burst into a laughter.

Specific genes in some people determine or control the serotonin to make them just smile or making them laugh loudly while watching cartoons or comedy films, said scientists.

The new study conducted by the US researchers differentiated the short and long alleles (variants) of the gene 5-HTTLPR, which controls serotonin, a brain chemical involved in depression and anxiety as well.

In the past, researchers have proved that thos who smile or laugh briefly were more sensitive to negative emotions but reversing the version, the new study found that they were similarly responsive to emotional highs or lows.

The researchers observed the participants who were shown newspaper-style cartoons or a “subtly amusing” film clip and their reaction was recorded in a videotape with the volunteers’ faces and their responses were coded.

Since many people just smile out of politeness, the researchers focused on subtle signals and facial expressions to re-establish the reaction from the participants.

People with the short allele were genuine and those with the long allele are not, said Dr Claudia Haase, from Northwestern University in Illinois.

“People with short alleles may flourish in a positive environment and suffer in a negative one, while people with long alleles are less sensitive to environmental conditions,” she said and the study findings have been published in the journal Emotion.

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