Why Do We Laugh at People Falling?


We’ve all been there. Somebody trips and falls, or your friend runs into the sliding glass door, and you just crack up. It’s a common occurrence! We glorify shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos and love looking at complications of people wiping out on camera.

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But why do we do this? Are we insane for laughing at other people’s misfortune or clumsiness? Well, you’ll be happy to know that there is a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation for why people laugh at others falling. This video gives us a brief outline of why we can’t help but find pain humourous.

First of all, laughing at falling is confined only to what experts call the “play frame,” or when it is not serious. If someone fell from a huge height, nobody would laugh. However, when you are sure that the person is fine, then laughing is a natural reaction to release mental energy. We laugh because of the surprise of the situation, and we release our mental stress by laughing. In reaction to a sudden event, we either panic, develop intense concern, or we laugh. This is simply a natural human reaction to a surprise.


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