Laughter in Animals

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Dear Dr. Cardoso,

I read in tne Reader magazine a quote from you that laughing is a primative
reflex common in (other-than-human) animals. I was very interested to read
this as it has obvious relevance to the largely neglected subject of the
experience of pleasure in our animal kin. This is a subject about which I am
writing a book. I am an ethologist who's academic background is mostly the
study of communication in bats. I have a strong interest in ethical issues
concerning animals, which is part of my motivation for the book project.
There is so much science on pain and distress in animals (including so many
studies to the animals' own detriment), yet relatively little about the
other end of the pain/pleasure spectrum.

I would appreciate it if you could point me towards some published
literature that would get me better informed on the laughter (or at least
its associated reflex) in the animals.

Thank you for your time.


Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D.
Research Coordinator

Dear Dr. Balcombe,

I have a paper in Cerebrum, a journal of Dana Aliance for the Brain (print edition). The on-line version is in Brain & Mind at:

I also gave an interview to New Scientist "It's no laughing matters" at:

You also should read the book of Dr. Robert Provine, one of the pioneers in laughter.
See a briefing of his book "Laughter: A Scientific Investigation" at:

See also a video with Dr. Provine "Laughing matters" at:

Hope to help ypu.

Best regards,




Copyright Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD