Alexandra Richards | Contributing Writer | Monday, 1 June 2015

Can\'t Stop Giggling? New Study Reveals It\'s Genetic

Can't Stop Giggling? New Study Reveals It's Genetic

The Debrief: Researchers have found that for some people, being prone to laughter is in their DNA

If you’re like me then your giggle is the laughing stock of all your friends.

I don’t know when I first developed such a niche chuckle, but somewhere along the way it all went wrong and I started getting compared to Jimmy Carr. Not ideal. My heinous giggle has gone so far as to prompt one man to ask, ‘is there somewhere you can go to get that fixed?’ Rude. Even my own mother has requested that I ‘train’ myself to laugh less. 

Well the jokes on you mum because it turns out that it’s in my DNA. Recent research, published online by the journal Emotion, claims that the reason some of us can’t stop laughing while others aren’t inclined to crack a smile, is because of the make up of their genes. A study found that people with short alleles-variations of the gene 5-HTTLPR smiled or laughed more while watching cartoons, compared to people with long alleles. 

Experiments that took place at the University of Berkley, revealed that people with shorter alleles showed greater positive emotional expressions and responded with more genuine smiling and laughter than people with longer alleles.

But wait, the gene is not only linked to positive vibes, it has previously been linked to negative emotions too. Claudia Haase, from Northwestern University in Illinois , the co author of the study said,

‘Having the short allele is not bad or risky. Instead it amplifies emotional reactions to both good and bad environments.’ 

So those of us with the short alleles just feel more, and I for one am glad that I can laugh at the little things. Although it’s not all shits and giggles, those without the shorter gene could be in danger of developing a serious case of resting bitch face. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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