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Bad News: People Can Tell When You're Fake Laughing

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The next time your date tells a bad joke, here's a legitimate reason not to fake laugh: New research shows that people can tell when you're not being genuine.

To test whether fake laughs are distinguishable from real laughs, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles recorded spontaneous laughs between friends as well as fake laughs, and discovered that you're really only fooling people around one-third of the time.

How obvious is it that you're fake laughing? Very obvious. When people let out a fake chuckle, differences in speed and breathing are noticeable, the researchers say. The faster the laugh, the more subjects believed them to be real. [Tweet this fact!]

“Quite a few fake laughs sound pretty good, but listeners seem to pay attention to certain acoustic features that are really hard to fake,” study author Greg Bryant, an associate professor of communication studies at UCLA, told Time in a statement.

In a similar experiment, the same researchers slowed down the laughter and asked participants to guess whether it was from an animal or a human. Participants couldn't tell whether the real laughs were human or not, but they were good at spotting the fake laughs and identifying them as human or animal.

What do you think of this funny news? Do you think you're good at distinguishing a fake chuckle from the real thing? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!


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