" Hence, Ayan adds, with laughter, the lives of people with elevated levels of cortisol might be saved. Arguably that's a bit of a stretch, but for the purposes of his article Ayan is justified in using it.

Keeping anxiety "at bay" through humor is the sum and substance of a 1990 study conducted by psychologists; 53 college students were told they were going to get an electric shock in 12 minutes albeit there was no such shock forthcoming. While waiting for this inevitable shock, some of the students were given a funny tape to watch while others watched a boring tape or nothing at all. The results were predictable: those exposed to humor "rated themselves as less anxious as the fictitious shock approached than did those in the other two groups" (Ayan).

In yet another study presented by Ayan to make his point, 56 women were asked to stick...
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