How to tell a fake laugh from a real one

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Photo by y i v a via Flickr/CC.

Photo by y i v a via Flickr/CC.

Admit it: you’ve done it. You’re on a bad date, or maybe in an awkward job interview, and you HAVE to fake-laugh at a dumb joke someone told.

Luckily it’s hard to tell the difference between that and the real thing. But some people can tell.

Greg Bryant teaches Communication Studies at UCLA, and he’s done research to find the small nuances that differentiate phony chortles from real laughs. He spoke to KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis.

You can read Greg’s paper (co-written with Athena Aktipis, a research scientist at UC San Francisco), “The animal nature of spontaneous human laughter” from Evolution and Human Behavior here (PDF).