Scientists at Loma Linda University in California have discovered that laughter can improve short-term memory in older people.
They asked 20 healthy adults to watch a funny video for 20 minutes, and another group to sit still and watch nothing at all. Both groups participated in a memory test afterwards and had their saliva tested for cortisol levels. The results showed that those who had watched the funny video had a better short-term memory than those who hadn’t spent 20 minutes laughing, with their higher cortisol levels to blame.
Researchers put this down to the fact that laughter reduces the quantity of the stress hormone in older people, which is believed to hinder short-term memory. They added that laughter increases endorphins in the body, by sending dopamine to the brain, thought to have a positive impact on memory.