Children's Laughter the Apex of Joy

The sound of children laughing delights listeners more than any other noise, a New Zealand study has found. Psychologist Aaron Jarden says it is because laughter is associated with well-being.

What's the Latest Development?


In a recent study out of New Zealand, people were asked which sounds they most closely associate with joy. At the top of the list was the sound of children laughing, followed by sounds of nature and animals. "I think that is purely an evolutionary mechanism in the sense that laughter is a sign that things are going well," says psychologist Aaron Jarden. He said picturing a baby evoked a feeling of well-being but adding the sound of laughter made it more potent. At the bottom of the list were armpit farts, V-8 engines and firecrackers. 

What's the Big Idea?

How does the noise in our environment affect our well-being? The results of recent research indicate that our sense of joy plummets when we are surrounded by a dull hum or loud bursts of sound. "Jarden, the lead investigator in New Zealand for an international wellbeing survey, said regularly experiencing joy was a vital component in the wellbeing spectrum, along with positive emotion, engagement and meaning in life, positive relationships and accomplishment. 'Those are the five key areas, if you are topping those, and doing well in those, you will have wellbeing.'"

Related Articles

A controversial theory claims past, present, and future exist at the same time

Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.

Back to the Future.
Surprising Science
  • Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
  • Time travel may be possible.
  • Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
Keep reading Show less

Six disastrous encounters with the world’s most hostile uncontacted tribe

From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.

Culture & Religion
  • Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
  • But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
  • Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
Keep reading Show less