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Canned laughter

If you've watched any sitcom, there is a high likelihood that you've come across canned laughter. It is the laughter track that they play on the show when there is a joke that they want to portray as being funny. This is used in several popular shows like FRIENDS and The Big Bang Theory.

The idea is simple, and backed by scientific research. When we hear other people laugh (or react in a certain way) to something that is happening, then our tendency to react in the same way increases drastically. If you want to know what I mean, try watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory where the canned laughter track has been edited out. Here's a sample.

No wonder canned laughter is so widely used on television. It works like a charm. (Thanks to Dr Laurie Santos and her Happiness podcast for introducing me to the research behind canned laughter).

It is a popular adage that we are the average of the five people that we spend most of our time with. How we react to things and what we find funny or distasteful or inspiring, is also the average of such reactions by the people we spend most of our time with. Because, we are never objectively reacting to anything (unless we are spending all of our time alone). We are always reacting to things based on how others around us react to them. This influence is unconscious and all-prevalent.

If you want to change how you see the world, then you have to change who you're spending a lot of your time with. 

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