Radio Times

Laughing, sneezing, burping and more: the science of curious behavior

October 13, 2012

Hour 2

Scientists have sent rovers to Mars and decoded our DNA but they rarely look at the strange assortment of behaviors that we all do everyday – scratching, burping, sneezing, yawning, and laughing.  Psychologist and neuroscientist Robert Provine is an exception.  He’s been investigating these mundane and sometimes embarrassing quirks for decades.  He’s tickled chimps, recorded flatulence, and analyzed the wide range of giggles and laughs to find out what they say about human nature.  This hour, we’re going to find out what Provine has learned and what our peculiarities say about our brains and our evolution.  Marty talks to him about his new book — “Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping and Beyond.”

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