The Baby Laughter Project

The Baby Laughter Project

The laughter of tiny babies is not just a phenomenally popular theme for YouTube videos, it is also a fantastic window into the workings of the human brain. You can’t laugh unless you get the joke. At the University of London's Birkbeck Babylab we study how babies learn about the world. We believe that studying early laughter in detail will throw new light on the workings of babies’ brains, as well as offering new insights into the uniquely human characteristic that is humor.

We are researching just what makes babies laugh by conducting the largest ever global survey of early laughter. If you are parent with a child under two, you can take the survey. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete.

We are also interested on particular incidents that made your baby laugh. Who was present? What was so funny? You can file a 'field report'.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Mark Johnson, Director
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of London's Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Questionnaire
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    To find out more about the project, visit The Baby Laughter Project Web site.

See more projects in FreeQuestionnaireAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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