A gelotologist is a specialist who studies the physiological effects of laughter. When a person laughs, some special muscles called gelastic muscles get exercised, and, as a result, several physiological changes such as an increase in respiration and blood circulation take place. A gelotologist is concerned with analysis of such changes and their effect on human health. The word originated from the Greek root ‘gelos’ meaning laughter. The first institute devoted to the field of gelotology was started in 1971 in San Francisco by Dr William Fry, who believed that laughter was bad for health. However, his views were proven wrong later.
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