Laughter is like a language and humans are really good at understanding it.

In this episode, Molly and co-host Milla decode different kinds of laughs, from uncontrollable goofy laughter to chuckles that make others feel good.

They’ll meet laugh experts Sophie Scott and Adrienne Wood and test their knowledge in three rounds of the game show: Laugh Attack!

Plus, a new mystery sound for you to guess!

Featured experts: Sophie Scott, neuroscientist and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow at the University College London and Adrienne Wood, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia. Find Adrienne on X @adriennerwood

Resources: Watch Sophie Scott’s acclaimed TED Talk, “Why we laugh.”

Audio Transcript

Download transcript (PDF)

SPEAKER 1: You're listening to Brains On where we're serious about being curious.

SPEAKER 2: Brains On is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.


MOLLY BLOOM: These are excellent seats.

MILLA: I know. I've been so curious about this show. Glad you could come with me.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, it's starting.

ROSIE: Hello, fellow chortlers and chucklers, guffawers and gigglers, hi-ha'ers and ha-ha'ers, welcome to She Who Laughs Last.

MILLA: Look, it's Rosie. We know her.

MOLLY BLOOM: I know. I'm so proud of her for putting together this one-woman show.

ROSIE: As you no doubt read in the many reviews from fine publications such as Stuff Happening On Stage magazine and that one flyer someone, definitely not me, put up on every telephone pole in a four-mile radius, this is a show about laughter, specifically my recreation of some of the most profound and moving laughters I have come across in my years of research. Let us begin.

Laughing at the perfect knock-knock joke.


Laughing at an OK knock-knock joke.


Laughing at a bad knock-knock joke.


Laughing at a dog who got his head stuck in a cereal box.


Laughing because you got your head stuck in a cereal box.


Laughing because your 13-year-old nephew sent you a meme and you definitely get it.


Oh, yeah, yeah.

Laughing because your 13-year-old nephew said the meme you sent was cringe and you're pretty sure that means he loves it.


See. Oh. Laughing because you farted and you don't want people to think it's you.


Ooh. And finally, laughing because you farted and you do want everyone to know it was.



MOLLY BLOOM: That was amazing. I feel like we really went on an emotional journey there.

MILLA: Rosie's a genius. I hope this gets adapted into a feature length film. The world needs to know.


MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Brains On from APM Studios. I'm Molly Bloom. And my co-host today is Milla from Minneapolis. Hi, Milla.

MILLA: Hi, Molly.

MOLLY BLOOM: And today we're answering a question you sent in to us.

MILLA: Yeah, I wanted to know why people laugh.

MOLLY BLOOM: This question is no laughing matter. So I'm wondering, do you feel like you're easy to make laugh?

MILLA: I don't think so, but I don't know.



MOLLY BLOOM: You're not sure. Well, we'll see today how easy you are to make laugh. So you told me that you want to be a comic actor--


MOLLY BLOOM: --when you grow up. So as someone who's interested in making people laugh, what do you think is the easiest way to get someone to laugh.

MILLA: Well, most of my friends laugh when I make like a dry joke, I guess, like when it's just random.

MOLLY BLOOM: So like random dry humor.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Who in your life has your favorite laugh?

MILLA: My uncle.


MILLA: He has a funny laugh.

MOLLY BLOOM: Can you do an imitation of it?


I love it. So who makes you laugh the hardest?

MILLA: Probably my cousins group.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. How many cousins are in the group?

MILLA: I think like 13.

MOLLY BLOOM: What? You have 13 cousins?

MILLA: They're not like blood cousins, they're like framily.

MOLLY BLOOM: I love that term, "framily." That's so nice.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: So have you guys known each other for a really long time?

MILLA: Yeah, we've known each other since we were born.

MOLLY BLOOM: Can you remember a thing that made you all laugh recently?

MILLA: I remember we were playing Flores Lava, I think it was at Carbone's and like their parking lot.


MILLA: It was like a rainy day. And we were-- like, there was this puddle. And then in the middle of the puddle, there was this little island thingy.


MILLA: I don't really remember what it was or why it was there, but there was. And my cousin already tried to go on it to get to it.


MILLA: And he was like, Oh my God, that's so deep. And I didn't hear him so I start running from behind him.


MILLA: And I was running so fast that I was like in the middle of it and I realized that it was like up to my knees.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh my gosh.

MILLA: Yeah, and then I finally got there and then all of them were laughing at me, but I won, I won.


MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: So it was worth it.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK, so Milla, let's dive in to your question. We laugh for lots of reasons.

MILLA: We laugh when we get tickled.

MOLLY BLOOM: We laugh when we hear a joke.

MILLA: We sometimes laugh when we're nervous.

MOLLY BLOOM: Or because we see other people laughing.

MILLA: Each of these laughs sound a little different, and they mean different things.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, laughter is like a language.

MILLA: And humans are really good at using and understanding that language.

MOLLY BLOOM: When we're little, the first type of laugh we usually experience is a kind where you just can't stop. You know, when your stomach muscles start to hurt and tears start to roll down your face, when you try to stop but can't. You might see a baby laugh like this when it's having a really good time. So Milla, have you experienced this? Have you laughed this hard?

MILLA: Yeah, I think it was like last weekend or like this weekend or something, I can't remember. But me and my friend were hanging out. And she-- We were doing like the Sprite challenge. Have you guys saw that?

MOLLY BLOOM: Tell me what that is.

MILLA: So it's where you have a Sprite and then you try to drink it all without burping.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Oh, OK. It sounds hard.

MILLA: And my friend, she was about to burp, and she had the Sprite in her mouth because she couldn't swallow it, she was about to burp, and then she spit it out all over my desk, and I just started laughing and I fell on the floor.


MOLLY BLOOM: That sounds like a really fun and gross time. I love it.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, so for me, I think my most recent time was when I was with my family and we were watching some very silly videos of my daughter when she was little, and my mom and I were losing it. And the harder she laughed, the harder I laughed, and then the harder I laughed, the harder she laughed.

MILLA: I would love to hear that.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yes, I wish I recorded it. But I do have a surefire way to get me giggling, I press this button.

MILLA: What's that button?

MOLLY BLOOM: It's my Marc, make me laugh button. Marc always makes me laugh. So I told him to program it with silly sayings, that way any time I need a laugh, I can just do this.

MARC SANCHEZ: Oh, hello, Molly. I didn't see you there. Well, it's the perfect time for me to read to you the ingredients of one of your favorite foods, cottage cheese as (SILLY FANCY VOICE) a fancy man.


Ingredient 1, cheese.


Ingredient 2, a cottage. Bye bye.



MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Marc's fancy man like gets me. Truly. Every time. [LAUGHS] Oh, OK, OK. Sometimes when we're really cracking each other up, we have that super hard laughing that we just talked about. I call those kinds of laughs the goofies.

MILLA: Yeah, it feels so awesome to laugh like that with a good friend.

SOPHIE SCOTT: That shared laughter is the really magic stuff. The closer your relationship and the warmer your relationship, the more likely you are to be able to use laughter together.

MILLA: That's Sophie Scott.

MOLLY BLOOM: She's a professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London.

SOPHIE SCOTT: And what that means is I study the human brain and I study it at a level where we're trying to explain human behavior and human experience. Laughter is a really interesting behavior as an emotional expression to study because it's absolutely everywhere.

MOLLY BLOOM: And when you have one of the goofies, you know, an uncontrollable laughing fit, there's a lot happening in your body.

MILLA: The muscles between your ribs move in and out very fast, creating that Ha-ha-ha sound. As the muscles in your core get a workout, the rest of your muscles relax, which might make it hard to hold a pencil while you're laughing.

MOLLY BLOOM: Floppy fingers for real. Like, I'm laughing so hard that I can't fit my jacket, yeah, that's the goofies.

MILLA: You also might feel like it's a little bit harder to breathe.

MOLLY BLOOM: And Sophie says there are invisible changes happening inside our bodies too.

SOPHIE SCOTT: When you laugh, your brain chemistry starts changing.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our bodies release chemicals that tell us when to feel happy or sad, tired or energetic. There's a lot of these kinds of chemicals in our brains.

MILLA: When you laugh, your body releases less of the brain chemicals that make you feel stressed and anxious.

MOLLY BLOOM: And more of the chemicals that make you feel good. That's why a good laughing spell can leave you feeling relaxed and happy.

It is important to laugh every now and then, you know?

MILLA: Totally. In fact, one of the reasons we know laughter is important is because it's so, so common in the animal world.

SOPHIE SCOTT: What I really like studying about laughter is that it's an ancient mammal behavior. We aren't the only animals that laugh.

MOLLY BLOOM: In fact, scientists have recorded laughter from dozens of species.

SOPHIE SCOTT: We find laughter in other apes, like chimpanzees and gorillas, but you even find quite complex laughter-like behavior in animals like rats.

MILLA: Some animals laugh when they're playing, like parrots and dolphins.


MOLLY BLOOM: But most animal laughs don't sound at all like what we'd think of as laughing. In fact, most of it sounds like panting or hissing.


OK, so you just heard three different apes laughing, specifically an orangutan, a gorilla, and a bonobo. Still, us humans have all kinds of laughs, and some sound pretty wild. So Milla, today we're going to play a game show called--


SPEAKER 3: Laugh Attack. [LAUGHS] Round 1.

MOLLY BLOOM: For Laugh Attack round 1, I'm going to play you some audio and I want you to tell me if it's an animal sound or a human laugh. Sound good?

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, here we go. Here is sound number 1.


MILLA: I think that was the animal.

MOLLY BLOOM: You think it was an animal?

MILLA: Or a baby. I think it was an animal.

MOLLY BLOOM: Which one are you going to go with, animal or baby?

MILLA: Animal.


MOLLY BLOOM: You were almost right because it was a baby.

MILLA: Oh, so close, so close.

MOLLY BLOOM: You were so close. Yeah, that's a baby laugh. Adorable. All right, here is sound number 2.


MILLA: That was definitely an animal.


MOLLY BLOOM: You are correct. It was. Do you know what animal it was?

MILLA: A pelican?

MOLLY BLOOM: It was a donkey.



I have no clue what a donkey sounds like.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, now we know. That is what a donkey-- and it's pretty funny. All right, here is sound number 3.


What do you think? [LAUGHS]

MILLA: That was an animal.


MOLLY BLOOM: You are correct. Got an idea which animal?

MILLA: An elephant?

MOLLY BLOOM: It was a crow.

MILLA: Oh, it sounded like an elephant.

MOLLY BLOOM: I know. They sound very similar to each other. I totally agree. All right, here's the last one of this round of Laugh Attack, sound number 4.


What do you think?

MILLA: That was a human.


MOLLY BLOOM: You are correct. [LAUGHS] Oh, I love the sounds we make when we laugh. Excellent guessing. Well, we'll be back with two more rounds of Laugh Attack later in the show. But first, we have another little game for you. It's the--


GIRL: Mystery sound.

MOLLY BLOOM: Here it is.


What do you think?

MILLA: OK, I think it's like sandpaper maybe?

MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, very good guess.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: What makes you think that?

MILLA: I hear like a scraping noise kind of.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hmm, very good.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, well, we're going to hear it again, get another chance to guess, and hear the answer after the credits.

MILLA: So keep listening.


MOLLY BLOOM: We're working on an episode all about UFOs, unidentified flying objects. They're mysterious. They're curious. But are they real? Imagine some aliens showed up at your front door interested in learning more about planet Earth. Where would you take them? To your favorite playground, the science museum? Milla, where would you take a bunch of aliens?

MILLA: I would take them to like a comedic show just to see how they laugh.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, I love that answer. Very good. How do you think an alien would laugh? Would it sound like us?

MILLA: I think it might sound kind of close. I feel like it might be a little squeaky or something.

MOLLY BLOOM: Mm. I think if an alien laughed, what if they just like emitted a smell instead of a sound. Like, when they laughed, maybe it smelled good, like maybe it was like when they laugh, it smells like strawberries or something.

MILLA: Yeah, that's interesting.


MOLLY BLOOM: I don't know. I guess we'll find out when you take them to the comedy show.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK. can you do an impression of what you think an alien laugh might sound like?

MILLA: It'd be like a [CHEEKY LAUGH].

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] I love it. Well, listeners, we want to hear from you. Record yourself describing where you take a group of alien visitors and send it to us at While you're there, you can send us mystery sounds, drawings, and questions.

MILLA: Like this one.

BOY: How do prescription glasses work.


MILLA: And keep listening.


MAN: (ECHOING) Brains On.

MILLA: You're listening to Brains On. I'm Milla.

MOLLY BLOOM: And I'm Molly. And this is my pal, good old Marc Sanchez with another random saying to make me laugh.

MARC SANCHEZ: OK, Molly, here's a quick little game for you, is this real or is it fake.



MOLLY BLOOM: Oh. That's so much. [LAUGHS]

MARC SANCHEZ: What say you?


MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, man, he does know me. He knows I think farts are funny, and the longer the better. And I'm going to say we think real or fake?

MILLA: I think it was fake.


MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: And if it was real, I'm a little worried about him.



MOLLY BLOOM: Oh. All right, well so far, we've talked about that kind of uncontrollable laughing also known as the goofies.

MILLA: This kind of laugh is ancient, and it's something lots of animals do too.

MOLLY BLOOM: You'll know you've got the goofies when it's really hard to stop, when your eyes water, your face turns red, and your muscles feel like they're getting a workout.

MILLA: But that's not the only kind of laughing that humans do.


MOLLY BLOOM: There's another kind of laughing that's more like talking. We can control when we do it, and when we start and when we stop.

MILLA: Scientist Sophie Scott calls this kind of laughter posed laughter.

MOLLY BLOOM: Posed laughter is all the other kinds of laughing we do. Sometimes we laugh to make awkward situations feel less awkward.

MILLA: Other times we do it to show our friends that we like them.

MOLLY BLOOM: Sometimes it might happen when you're teasing your sibling.

MILLA: Or maybe you hear a silly joke.

MOLLY BLOOM: This laughter is different from the goofies because it's easier to control and you can stop whenever you want.

MILLA: But it still doesn't mean you're making a conscious choice to laugh in these other ways.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, most of these happen automatically, almost like blinking your eyes or breathing.

MILLA: You don't have to think about them for them to happen.

MOLLY BLOOM: When you're little, you don't do this kind of posed conversational laughing. It happens as you get a little older, like around 10 years old.

Now we here at Brains On know that kids are amazing, and there are lots of things they can do better than adults.

MILLA: We can learn languages faster.

MOLLY BLOOM: Your bodies take less time to recover after running around.

MILLA: Our taste buds are more sensitive.

MOLLY BLOOM: Your imaginations are truly incredible and let you solve problems in unique ways.

MILLA: But when it comes to laughing, there's something we're not quite as good at.

MOLLY BLOOM: Kids are not as good as adults at spotting the kind of laughter that is posed.

SOPHIE SCOTT: We find that if you ask children is this person really laughing or not, they just hear laughter. They absolutely understand laughter. They're very good at spotting laughter. But they don't hear different kinds.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's laughing expert Sophie Scott again. And it turns out that understanding this kind of posed or conversational laughing is something that we get better at as we get older.

MILLA: So most six-year-olds won't be able to spot it very well, but by the time you're 11, you'll be a little bit better.

MOLLY BLOOM: But it takes quite a long time to get really good. We don't really master spotting this kind of laughter until we're in our 30s.

SOPHIE SCOTT: You can only learn about these things in social environments. So throughout your entire early adult life, you are continuing to learn about it as far as we can see.

MOLLY BLOOM: It can be a real challenge to spot, which makes it the perfect subject for--


SPEAKER 3: Laugh attack [LAUGHS] round 2.

MOLLY BLOOM: So this next round is going to be a bit of a challenge for our younger listeners and even some of the adults out there, but let's give it a try and see how you all do. In this round, I'm going to play you a laugh and I want you to tell me if the person laughing has got the goofies or if it's posed laughter, like something someone is doing as part of a conversation that they could stop if they needed to. Make sense?

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, here we go. Here's laugh number 1.


What do you think, goofies or posed?

MILLA: That's a posed laughter.


MOLLY BLOOM: You are correct. Very good. All right, here is laugh number 2.


What do you think?

MILLA: I think that's the goofies.


MOLLY BLOOM: You are correct again. Excellent work. All right, laugh number 3.


What do you think?

MILLA: That's the goofies.


MOLLY BLOOM: You are correct again. Very, very good. All right, here's laugh number 4.


What do you think?

MILLA: That's posed.


MOLLY BLOOM: Correct again. Excellent work, Milla. All right, laugh number 5.


What do you think?

MILLA: That's posed again.


MOLLY BLOOM: Oh my gosh, she's an expert, ladies and gentlemen. All right, here's laugh number 6.


What do you think?

MILLA: That's the goofies.


MOLLY BLOOM: Oh my gosh, Milla, 100% correct. That was tricky. You did amazing. Better than some of the adults on the Brains On team, I have to say. Excellent work. All right, so now that you've heard a bunch of these laughs, did you notice any similarities between the posed laughs and the set of the goofies? Let's hear them grouped together and we can see what similarities we hear. So here are the posed laughs.


OK, and here are the goofies.


OK, so what are the differences do you think between the posed and the goofies when you're listening to them?

MILLA: So the posed sounds like more you're trying to push out air in your mouth.


MILLA: But then with the goofies, it's more like you're trying to breathe.

MOLLY BLOOM: I love that, yeah, that is exactly what it sounds like. Yeah, it's almost like there's more breathy almost, like less sound. Totally. Any other similarities or differences you heard?

MILLA: I feel like similarities is that there's both like a normal laughing sound in it. But then another difference is like the goofies or whatever, you can hear like squeakies in the background when you laugh. Like--

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, they're not as pretty.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: They're a little weirder.



MOLLY BLOOM: Very good observations. So some people might call the laughing where we have the goofies more real than the posed laughs.

MILLA: But just because laughter is posed doesn't mean it's fake.

ADRIENNE WOOD: No laughter is fake. It's all serving a real purpose.

MILLA: That's Adrienne Wood. She's another scientist who studies laughing.

MOLLY BLOOM: She's a psychologist at the University of Virginia, and she says posed laughing is more than just someone pretending.

ADRIENNE WOOD: It's all doing something real and important in our interactions. So even if a person's laughter doesn't sound like they're having a really good time, it doesn't mean that they are being fake or lying to you. They are trying to send some other message. They're trying to communicate their friendliness. Or maybe they're trying to communicate that they think they're better than you. But whatever it is, they are sending a real message.

MILLA: Like we said before, all laughter is a language, and these laughs say different things.

MOLLY BLOOM: Right. So just like you made observations about how posed laughs sound different than the goofies, Adrienne studies the laughing sounds that people make. And here's how she breaks it down.

ADRIENNE WOOD: I've done a little bit of work looking at the different sounds laughter can contain. And so the laughter that's just pure joy, that laughter is what we think of when we say someone has a really genuine laugh. If your friend is laughing this way, you're probably going to start laughing even if you don't know what they're laughing about.

MILLA: That's the goofies.

ADRIENNE WOOD: Then the laughter that's used to undo the stressfulness or the tension of an interaction, like if you're feeling a little awkward when you're interacting with someone and you give a little giggle, that laughter is much more subdued. It doesn't sound to anyone like you're having a good time, it's kind of more just releasing a little bit of tension. So it's going to be shorter and quieter and maybe your mouth won't be open as much.

MILLA: This is a soothing laugh. It kind of helps people relax in awkward or tense situations.

MOLLY BLOOM: So the translation of this laugh could be, it's OK, I still like you. Here's what it might sound like.


That one is really short. So let's hear it again.


MILLA: And then there's a kind of laughter that doesn't feel so good.

ADRIENNE WOOD: When we're teasing or using our laughter to put other people down, the laughter can sound a little bit harsher. So it'll have the same vocal properties of a dog growling or something like that. So it'll be lower, it'll be a little bit noisier. It won't be this really pretty sound, this really pretty chuckle, it'll be maybe a little bit gruffer.

MOLLY BLOOM: The translation of this laugh could be, I don't like what you're doing and I want you to feel embarrassed about it. Here's an example.


MILLA: And then there's a laugh that feels really good to hear. We make this to reward our friends.

MOLLY BLOOM: The translation of this laugh could be, what you just did made me feel good, and I hope this laugh makes you feel good too. It can sound like this.


Do you hear the difference? The reward laugh is longer, higher, and more open. Here's another example.


And the teasing laugh is lower and a little more growly.


The soothing laugh is quiet and short.


Now of these three kinds of laughs, the soothing one is used the most when people are talking. We often use it at the end of the sentence to make sure people get what we're saying isn't meant in a negative way.

MILLA: Kind of like using a Smiley emoji at the end of a text message.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, all this laughing leaves me craving a reward. Time of another random Marc message.

MILLA: Can I push it this time?

MOLLY BLOOM: Go for it.

MARC SANCHEZ: You know there's one thing that always makes Molly Bloom laugh, and that's when I call myself Cram Manchez.


You see, my name is Marc Sanchez, but when I switch the first letter of my first name with the first letter of my last name, it becomes Cram Manchez. And today Cram Sanchez is fighting crime. And Cram Manchez needs a sidekick. Molly Bloom, would you be the Bally Bloom to my Cram Manchez?

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, man, that was good. Cram Manchez is funny to me.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: It just is. It funny to you or is it really just me?

MILLA: I think it is.


MOLLY BLOOM: It's just me. [LAUGHS] I love it. OK, Milla, now it's time for--


SPEAKER 3: Laugh attack. [LAUGHS] Round 3.

MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, I'm going to play you one of these three kinds of laughs recorded by our laugh scientist, Adrienne. I want you to tell me if you think the laugh is for soothing, teasing, or rewarding. This is challenging.


MOLLY BLOOM: Are you ready?

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK, here is laugh number 1.


What do you think, soothing, teasing, or rewarding?

MILLA: Soothing.


MOLLY BLOOM: Correct. Very, very good. Here is laugh number 2.


Soothing, teasing, or rewarding?

MILLA: Teasing.


MOLLY BLOOM: Correct again. Laugh expert Milla. All right, laugh number 3.


Soothing, teasing, rewarding?

MILLA: Teasing.


MOLLY BLOOM: This one was a rewarding. They're very similar. I mean--

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: One thing Adrienne wanted to point out is that a lot of these laughs are kind of hard to categorize.

MILLA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: So it's a tricky one. All right, here is the final one, laugh number 4.


MILLA: Teasing.


MOLLY BLOOM: Correct. Excellent work. You are a trained laugh translator now. You didn't even need much training. You're a natural. Excellent work.

SPEAKER 4: Ba ba, ba ba, ba ba, ba ba ba, ba Brains On.

MOLLY BLOOM: So no matter what kind of laughter is happening, the goofies or more posed, rewarding, or teasing, or soothing, it's all about relationships with other people.

MILLA: In fact, you're 30 times more likely to laugh with other people than by yourself. Molly, when's the last time you had the goofies when you were alone?

MOLLY BLOOM: Maybe never. I can't think of a time. How about you?

MILLA: I don't think I ever have too.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, that's because laughing is a social tool and one that can make us feel really good too.

SOPHIE SCOTT: So laughter is actually a very good sign of how you're really feeling.

MILLA: That's researcher Sophie Scott again.

SOPHIE SCOTT: The people that you laugh with are often the people that you're happiest with and the people you're enjoying spending time with, whether you're a child or whether you're an adult. And it's really important to make time for those moments in your day.


MILLA: We laugh for all different kinds of reasons, and these laughs are not the same.

MOLLY BLOOM: Sometimes we get the goofies, when we laugh so hard, we can't stop.

MILLA: And other times, our laughs are more posed.

MOLLY BLOOM: These laughs are more like talking, because they communicate things to other people. Posed laughs can be soothing, teasing, or rewarding.

MILLA: But no matter what kind it is, laughter helps us connect with each other.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's it for this episode of Brains On.

MILLA: This episode was produced by Molly Bloom, Rosie Dupont, Anna Goldfield, [INAUDIBLE] Wolde Selassie, Anna Weggel, Nico Gonzalez Wisler, Ruby Guthrie, and Marc Sanchez.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our editors are Sanden Totten and Shahla Farzan. This episode was sound designed by Rachel Breeze, and we had engineering help from Cameron Wylie and Alex Simpson. Beth Pearlman is our executive producer. The executives in charge of APM Studios are Chandra Kavati and Joanne Griffith. Special thanks to Eileen Kerr, Marina Davila Ross, Sophie Scott, and Adrienne Wood.

MILLA: Brains On is a non-profit Public Radio program.

MOLLY BLOOM: There are lots of ways to support the show. Subscribe to Brains On Universe on YouTube where you can watch animated versions of some of your favorite episodes, or head to where you can send us questions, ideas, mystery sounds, drawings, and high fives.

MILLA: And you can subscribe to our Smarty Pass.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Milla, are you ready to listen to that mystery sound again?

MILLA: Yes, I'm so ready.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful.


OK, so the last time you thought sandpaper. Do you have new thoughts?

MILLA: It kind of sounds like wrapping a gift or like a present now.

MOLLY BLOOM: It's a really good guess. Do you want to hear it one more time.

MILLA: Sure.



What do you think?

MILLA: OK, I think that's coloring like a page.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, OK, OK. I love all the guesses. They all involve paper, I've noticed, in some way. Do you want the answer?


MOLLY BLOOM: OK, here is the answer.

ARTHUR: My name is Arthur, and I come from England. And that was the sound of me taking tissues out of the tissue box.


MILLA: That's intere-- I don't really pay attention to that sound when I take it out.

MOLLY BLOOM: It does make a loud sound though when you pay attention. I love it. Yeah, you were really close. I mean, the paper, the wrapping paper. I think you got closest there, because paper being manipulated. Excellent, excellent work.


Now it's time for the Brains Honor Roll. These are the incredible kids who keep the show going with their questions, ideas, mystery sounds, drawings, and high fives.


SPEAKER 5: (SINGING) Brains Honor Roll. High Fives.

MOLLY BLOOM: We'll be back in two weeks with an episode all about Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs.

MILLA: Thanks for listening.

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