Laughter influences how well a joke is perceived.

Researchers from UCLA rated 40 cheesy jokes on a scale of 1 to 7, 1 being unamusing and 7 being hilarious. Then, a professional comedian recorded each joke twice: in the first recording, canned laughter followed the joke, and in the second, real laughter followed the joke. 

The researchers then tested both versions of each joke on participants. They found that the addition of laughter, both canned and real, made the jokes funnier and increased ratings. But real laughter led to the highest ratings. 

This study shows that both canned and real laughter can elevate humor. Remember this the next time you tell your favorite “dad joke.”


Qing, C., Chen, S., White, S. J., et al. (2019, July 22). Modulation of humor ratings of bad jokes by other people’s laughter. Current Biology. Retrieved from