In a paper being presented in an American Physiological Society session at Experimental Biology 2006, Lee S. Berk of Loma Linda University, reports that not only is there real science and psychophysiology, but just the anticipation of the "mirthful laughter" involved in watching your favorite funny movie has some very surprising and significant neuroendocrine/hormone effects.
According to Berk: "The blood drawn from experimental subjects just before they watched the video had 27% more beta-endorphins and 87% more human growth hormone, compared to blood from the control group, which didn't anticipate the watching of a humorous video. Between blood pulls, the control group stayed in a waiting room and could choose from a wide variety of magazines," he explained.
*Paper presentation: "Beta-Endorphin and HGH increase are associated with both the anticipation and experience of mirthful laughter," 12:30 p.m.- 3 p.m. Sunday April 2, APS Behavioral neuroscience & drug abuse Section abstract 233.18/board #C706. Research was by Lee S. Berk, Department of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health and Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University; Stanley A. Tan, Oakcrest Health Research Institute, Yucaipa; and James Westengard, Dept. of Pathology, School of Medicine; Berk is associated with all three institutions.
HGH, endorphin difference is long-lasting; setting the baseline and environment is key
Berk said that the strong difference between the two groups in terms of human growth hormone (HGH) and beta-endorphin blood levels was maintained from just prior to the beginning of video watching, throughout the hour of viewing and afterwards, also.
"We believe the results suggest that the anticipation of a humor/laughter eustress (positive stress) event initiates changes
Source:American Physiological Society