London: Those who have almost perfected the art of fake laughter over the years may have wasted their time, as a new study has found that even the most realistic efforts to feign amusement does not fool anyone. Scientists say that people are 'extremely good' at distinguishing even the most realistic sounding fake giggles.

It found that volunteers could almost always tell the difference between someone genuinely laughing and what the experts called as 'social laughter'.

Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London, carried out brain scans on volunteers, who were made to listen to expressions of disgust, a real belly laugh and a realistic fake one.

The volunteers were almost always able to identify a false laugh, she said. "Most of our laughter is posed," a daily quoted Scott as saying.

"We use it as a way of keeping conversation going, as a way of showing our friends we like them or impressing people.

"They know it's not genuine, but I don't know if they always mind. You are appreciating what they are doing and getting a positive affiliation going," Scott said.

The MRI scans also exposed how hearing real and fake laughter activates two different areas of our brains. Fake laughter triggers more brain activity - in the medial prefrontal cortex, associated with problem-solving - as we try to work out the reason why the person is doing it. Genuine laughter simply activates auditory areas in the temporal lobe - where we process all sound.


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