The ability to identify genuine laughter transcends culture
Participants from the U.S. and 20 other countries were generally able to tell the difference between a real (spontaneous) and fake (volitional) laugh.
- Study participants from all societies were able to discern, at a rate better than chance, the true nature of a laugh.
- Some societies were more adept at others, for example, Samoans had a 56% success rate, in contrast to 69% for the Japanese.
- Listeners from small, less industrialized societies were better able to predict whether a laugh was fake, most likely due to the more complex social relationships present in such societies.
- Humans have an advanced sensitivity to acoustic cues which indicate emotional arousal.
Authentic laughs carry the following characteristics:
- Higher pitch and volume
- Faster bursts of non articulate sounds
- More non tonal noise.