Posts tagged with "Newsweek"

After forcing Toyota U-turn, Lincoln Project warns other corporate political donors

July 12, 2021

After the Lincoln Project released an ad targeting Toyota for its political donations to Congressional lawmakers who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, the Japan-based automaker announced on Thursday, July 8, that it would halt those contributions.

Now, the Lincoln Project is putting other corporate political donors on warning, Newsweek reports. Indeed, after their targeted ad proved successful in reversing Toyota’s contributions after less than one day of airing, the organization is primed to take on its next corporate target.

A Lincoln Project spokesperson was clear Thursday that the organization planned to continue its strategy of shining light on companies’ controversial political donations.

“Toyota made the right choice today. They put democracy ahead of transactional politics,” said RC Di Mezzo, political communications strategist for the Lincoln Project. “We hope that the rest of Corporate America will follow their lead — we’ll be there to make sure of it. We’re just getting warmed up.”

In response to questions regarding what future corporations may be targeted, Di Mezzo told Newsweek, “All I can say is we’re just getting started.”

Earlier on Thursday, The Lincoln Project announced that they planned a series of ads aimed at corporations, starting with Toyota, that had given contributions to members of Congress who voted against certifying then-candidate Joe Biden as the winner in certain states.

“Why would Toyota support politicians who try to overthrow the very system that’s been so profitable for them?” a narrator in the ad said. “Toyota has given more money than any company to the seditious politicians who voted to overturn the election results.”

Axios reported in June that Toyota gave a total of $56,000 to 37 of the 147 Republicans who voted against Biden’s electoral certification— the most any company directly contributed to lawmakers who opposed Biden’s certification.

Other companies on Axios’ list include Koch Industries with six donations, Cubic with eight, and Applied Research Associates with six donations.

Research contact: @Newsweek

60 Catholic Democrats urge Bishops not to block Joe Biden from Communion over abortion rights

June 22, 2021

Sixty Catholic Democrats have penned a letter urging the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States not to block President Joe Biden from receiving Communion because of his progressive abortion views, Newsweek magazine reports.

They base their case on two building blocks of American democracy:

  • The first clause in the Bill of Rightsstates that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
  • The “establishment clause” of the First Amendment of the Constitution“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”—often is interpreted to require separation of church and state.

“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” the letter reads. “The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.”

Congressional Democrats continued, “No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings—including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants.”

The letter comes after the group of bishops overwhelmingly voted to draft a statement on the sacrament of the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, on Friday, June 18.

The decision, aimed at the nation’s second Catholic president, was approved by a vote of 73% in favor and 24% opposed during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Biden, who has regularly attended Mass throughout his life, has embodied a liberal Christianity less focused on sexual politics and more on racial inequality, climate change,  and poverty.

“To pursue a blanket denial of the Holy Eucharist to certain elected officials would indeed grieve the Holy Spirit and deny the evolution of that individual, a Christian person who is never perfect, but living in the struggle to get there,” the 60 Democrats wrote.

The list of signers include Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joaquin Castro, Marie Newman and Ted Lieu, among others.

Research contact: @Newsweek

‘Friends’ reunion: How you can be in the audience for the HBO MAX special

April 23, 2020

It has been 16 years since the last new episode of the NBC-TV hit show Friends aired—and it could be said that most of us have been “on a break.” However, now, we have something to look forward to again.

The Friends reunion special, due to air in May on HBO Max (if taping is not delayed by the COVID-19 lockdown) already is generating buzz.

During the special, the show’s cast members—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—will reminisce about what it was like to be on-set and filming, Newsweek reports.

What’s more, the cast has teamed up with the All In Challenge—a digital fundraising effort that incentivizes donations by offering “once-in-a-lifetime experiences—to offer one Friends superfan and five friends the chance to be at the reunion when it tapes for HBO Max.

As Kudrow wrote on Instagram: “Hi everyone. Your Friends from FRIENDS want you to know something… We are all in!! You may have heard about the reunion special we are doing for HBO Max, well… WE ALL want YOU and five of YOUR friends to join the 6 of us on Stage 24.

She adds, “Be our personal guests in the audience for the taping where you’ll see us all together again for the first time in AGES, as we reminisce about the show and celebrate the fun we had. PLUS sip a cup of coffee with us in Central Perk and get the Friends VIP experience on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.”

To enter the “The One Where You Meet The Entire Cast Of Friends” sweepstakes, all fans have to do is click through to the competition page on the AllInChallenge.com website and donate $10 or more to the campaign, Newsweek reports. The more that fans donate to the charity, the more entries into the prize draw they get.

The Friends competition is not the only one available on the All In Challenge website. Among the other prizes are the opportunity to run a lemonade stand with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, and the chance to appear in a walk-on role in the latest Martin Scorsese movie Killers of the Flower Moon, which stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Proceeds from all of the auctions and prize drawings on the site raise money for American food charities like No Kid Hungry, Meals on Wheels, and America’s Food Fund.

Research contact: @Newsweek

Ex-RNC chairman: ‘Trump is wetting his pants’

October 1, 2019

Former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman  (2009-2011) Michael Steele on Monday mocked the GOP’s response to a whistleblower complaint that led to the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, The Hill reported.

“On this particular day, the GOP decided on a new strategy to address the #WhistleblowerComplaint,” Steele tweeted, at 10:16 a.m. (ET), posting a gif of a woman trying to sweep away ocean waves.

Steele, who is now an analyst with MSNBC, as well as a columnist for the The Root, also commented on an interview conducted by Fox News with White House Advisor Stephen Miller—who said on air: “The president of the United States is the whistleblower, and this individual is a saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government.”

To that, Steele tweeted, “What a load of crap. Yeah, Trump has been the whistleblower in his own Admin. Just stupid.”

Indeed, on Sunday morning, talking to host Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC, Steele said that President Trump’s constant tweets about the whistleblower showed that the leader of the free world was “wetting his pants a little bit. This has him nervous. There’s real concern here.

After the president tweeted at 6:53 p.m. (ET) on Sunday that he deserved to meet his accuser and claimed that “they”—meaning the media and the U.S. House of Representatives’ leadership—“represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” Steele noted that “flashing tweets” from President Trump were “his way of trying to get control of something he’s losing his grip on.”

The whistleblower tweets from Trump also raised concern in other quarters—from the “Deep Throat” of this impeachment case. Indeed, Newsweek reported that Andrew Bakaj, the whistleblower’s lawyer, said, “The events of the past week have heightened our concerns that our client’s identity will be disclosed publicly and that, as a result, our client will be put in harm’s way.

However, the Trump tirade continued. At 8:30 a.m. (ET), the president tweeted: #FakeWhistleblower.

Research contact: @thehill

The Bay State’s Bill Weld challenges Trump for 2020 GOP nomination

April 17, 2019

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld—who served the Bay State from 1991 to 1997—announced on April 15 that he would challenge President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln—equality, dignity and opportunity for all,” Weld, age 73, said in a written announcement that made no mention of  Trump, the Journal noted. Instead, he referenced “great political strife” and blamed both parties for a “win at all cost” mentality.

“It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag,” Weld’s statement read.

Weld represents a flank of the GOP that sees Mr. Trump as disruptive to longstanding party ideology on topics such as foreign policy and trade, but this group has been largely muffled since the 2016 election.

Trump commands widespread support among the Republican base, and he has a formidable re-election war chest. The Trump campaign said it raised $30 million in the first three months of this year and had $40 million in the bank as of March 31. The campaign also is fully integrated with the Republican National Committee, giving it an additional $42 million in available cash.

“Trump’s grip on the party is strong,” Republican donor and Trump fundraiser Dan Eberhart said. “The party isn’t looking for a Massachusetts liberal.”

Mr. Weld served two terms as governor in the 1990s and was viewed as a moderate, reflecting the state’s electoral makeup. In 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama over fellow Republican John McCain. In 2016, he ran as the running mate to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

The Massachusetts resident is banking on a strong performance in New Hampshire, which will hold the first-in-the-nation primary in February 2020

According to a Newsweek report, an incumbent president hasn’t faced a primary challenger since Pat Buchanan challenged, and lost, to George H.W. Bush in 1992.

The weekly news magazine has said that there are four other Republicans who could possibly challenge the Trump machine for the presidency—naming the possibilities as  Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, newly re-elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Nebraska Senator Benn Sasse.

Research contact: @WSJ

Consider ‘intuitive eating’—a food plan that involves self-discovery and no calories to count

April 8, 2019

Just how much advice do we need about the food that we eat? Is it carcinogenic? Will it cause heart disease? Does it have too much fat or sugar? Will it give you gas?

Or do you just want to sit down and have a meal and stop worrying about it?

Recently there has been an increased focus on the concept of “intuitive eating,” according to a report by Newsweek—and the idea is appealing to all of us who have been stressing out in the kitchen.

Intuitive eating has been popularized by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who first published a book on the subject (Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works) in 1995 and then developed a related website.

The thing about intuitive eating is that there are no rules. According to Tribole, “Intuitive Eating is not a diet or food plan. Period. There is no pass or fail, therefore there is no ‘blowing it.’ Rather, it’s a journey of self-discovery and connection to the needs of your mind and body.  There is nothing to count:This includes no counting of calories, carbs, points, or macros.“

The goal of eating intuitively is to listen to your body and allow it to guide you on when and how much to eat, rather than being influenced by your environment, emotions or the rules prescribed by diets, Newsweek reports, noting that the concept is similar to mindful eating, and the terms are often used interchangeably.

Mindful eating involves developing an awareness of internal hunger and satiety cues, and making conscious food choices. It emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the emotional and physical sensations experienced while eating.

Unlike many other diets, intuitive eating encourages you to eat what you want; no food is off-limits. While some may expect this to lead to eating more high-fat or high-sugar foods, research suggests that this is not the case. Advocates of intuitive eating suggest that the more you restrict yourself, the more likely you are to binge later.

Indeed, Health magazine recently covered the dietary concept and said it relies on ten principles—among them:

  1. Reject the diet mentality: Stop dieting and stop believing society’s messages that quick-fix plans can deliver lasting results.
  2. Honor your hunger: Eat a sufficient amount of calories and carbohydrates to keep your body “fed” and satiated. Learn to recognize these signals in your own body.
  3. Make peace with food: Once you finally have given yourself permission to, say, have a doughnut for breakfast, you may realize that you only wanted it because it was forbidden.
  4. Challenge the food police: Ignore the voices in your head that tell you it’s good to eat fewer calories and bad to eat dessert.
  5. Respect your fullness: It’s important to eat when you are hungry—and just as important to stop when the hunger cues are no longer present.
  6. Discover the satisfaction factor: “Most people have never asked themselves the question, ‘What do I like to eat? What feels good in my body?” Tribole says. Bring the pleasure back to eating.
  7. Honor your feelings without using food: Extreme emotions can cause over-eating; but so can boredom. Being more mindful with your food and your emotions can help you sort out the overlaps.
  8. Respect your body: Do not strive to meet unrealistic expectations about how much weight you can lose or what size jeans you can squeeze into.
  9. Exercise: It’s not about finding the exercise that burns the most calories; but about finding a way to move that sustainable and that you enjoy.
  10. Honor your health with gentle nutrition. Eating intuitively still should involve consuming more fruits and vegetables than ice cream. But at the same time, a diet doesn’t have to be perfect to be healthy.

In terms of weight loss, Newsweek advises, it is not yet clear that intuitive eating is more effective than calorie restriction. Results from observational studies found that people who ate intuitively had a lower BMI than those who didn’t. However, since people who restrict may do so because they already have a high BMI, it is difficult to determine the true effect intuitive eating has.

Also, results from intervention studies with overweight or obese people are not clear.

For example, one review found that of the eight studies assessed, only two noted a reduction in weight from intuitive eating. In a more recent review, weight loss was seen in only eight out of 16 studies. And out of the eight, weight loss was statistically significant in only three.

Unlike other diets, the focus of intuitive eating is not on weight loss but rather on addressing the reasons why people eat. So, even if its effectiveness as a weight-loss method is uncertain, it could still provide benefits by promoting healthy eating behavior.

This possibility has been supported by research suggesting intuitive eating may lead to a reduction in binge-eating symptoms and eating for external and emotional reasons. Intuitive eating is also associated with greater positive body image, body satisfaction, positive emotional functioning and higher self-esteem.

Finally, a recent study found that higher levels of intuitive eating predicted lower eating disorder symptoms, compared with calorie-counting and frequent self-weighing. This is a contrast to typical restrictive dieting, which has been associated with an increased risk of disordered eating, one that may be greater for those who also experience symptoms of depression and low self-esteem.

While more research needs to be conducted to establish if intuitive eating can lead to weight loss, the positive effects on mental health and healthy eating behavior are promising.

Research contact: @Newsweek

AOC: No ‘snub’ in absence from Speaker Pelosi’s Climate Change Committee

February 8, 2019

On February 7, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California) named eight Democrats to the new special Climate Change Committee, but Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  of New York was not among them.

Speaking to Newsweek after the story on the committee broke, Ocasio-Cortez—known in the media as “AOC”—stressed that she had turned down the position after it was offered by Pelosi and that her absence from the committee was not a “snub.”

AOC, who unveiled her progressive Green New Deal program on the same day, told Newsweek that her rationale for continuing to push her own legislation instead of joining the committee was, “[It’s an] …investigatory body. They’re tackling the investigative piece. And right now, we’re tackling the legislative piece.” She also pointed to her involvement in other House panels that would address climate change initiatives.

The new panel announced by Pelosi—which is charged with examining climate change and steps to mitigate it—will include lawmakers with a wide range of tenures, including three freshmen, The Hill reported.

This new Select Committee will spearhead Democrats’ work to develop innovative, effective solutions to prevent and reverse the climate crisis,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It will generate the energy and action required to permanently reduce pollution so that we can honor our responsibility to be good stewards of the planet for future generations.”

The Democratic members are Representatives Ben Ray Luján (New Mexico), Suzanne Bonamici (Oregon), Julia Brownley (California), Sean Casten (Illinois), Jared Huffman  California.), Mike Levin (California), A. Donald McEachin (Virginia) and Joe Neguse (Colorado).

Neguse, one of the freshmen on the panel, tweeted on Thursday, “Excited to represent Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West on the Select Committee on Climate. I hope to be avoice for my generation by advocating for bold, progressive solutions on climate change. #ActOnClimate.”

Pelosi previously named Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Florida) to be chairwoman of the committee.

The Republican members of the panel have not yet been named. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is responsible for picking the GOP lawmakers.

Research contact: @Timothy_Cama

President’s good-will trip incites rancor

December 31, 2018

What was supposed to be a surprise good-will stopover on December 26 at Al Asad Air Base has created hard feelings instead — both in Iraq and in the United States—after President Donald Trump politicized his holiday message to the troops; tweeted photos of a top-secret Navy SEAL team; and failed to visit the nation’s prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

On the U.S. side, both pundits and politicians pushed back after the president autographed MAGA hats and claimed in his address to the troops that American forces were “suckers” for their service in Syria.

“As long as the message from the president is how wonderful it is that they are doing a service for the country, that’s great,” Charles Blanchard, a former general counsel for the Army and the Air Force during the Clinton and Obama administrations, told The Washington Post. “But when it turns into a political rally, what do people see? They see enthusiastic soldiers clapping and yelling for a partisan message.”

Robert Dallek, a presidential historian, told the DC-based news outlet that there’s always an element of politics when presidents visit troops overseas but that Trump transgressed the line.

“Lyndon Johnson went to Vietnam and visited the troops,” Dallek said.“Did he attack the Republicans? Did he attack his Democratic critics? No. It’s inappropriate. But, once again, what you have with Trump is someone who bends the rules and violates the norms in order to make himself look special or exceptional.”

And in reference to the SEAL team photos, an unnamed Defense Department official told Newsweek that the “deployments of special operation forces—including Navy SEALs—are almost always classified events, as to protect those men and women that are on the front lines of every overt and covert conflict.”

The source added, “I don’t recall another time where special operation forces had to pose with their faces visible while serving in a war zone.”

What’s more, The New York Times reported, a range of Iraqi politicians criticized President Trump’s visit the following day, and some called for a parliamentary debate on whether American forces should leave. The rebukes underscored the political sensitivities surrounding the U.S. military’s deployment in the country, 15 years after the American-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and led to his execution in 2006.

Plans for the visit had been shared in advance with the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Still, the Times reported, representatives from rival parties in Parliament said that the visit, which lasted three hours and did not include a face-to-face meeting with Mahdi, was an arrogant affront.

American forces left Iraq in 2011, but returned three years later at the Iraqi government’s request to help reverse the Islamic State’s rapid spread in the country, including its takeover of Mosul, once Iraq’s second-largest city. But calls for the Americans to leave have grown in Iraq since the Islamic State was largely routed from the country last year.

One spokesperson called on the nation’s Parliament to “play its role … and put an end to the frequent violations to the Iraqi sovereignty by the American government and to issue a decision to get the American forces out of Iraq.”

President Trump said at Al Asad that he had no plans to order the roughly 5,200 U.S. service members in Iraq to come home. He also spoke from Al Asad by phone with Mahdi and invited him to visit the White House. Plans for the two to meet in person at the base were canceled for security and logistical reasons, according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.

This was President Trump’s first visit to vist the troops. In response to all of the criticism, he tweeted on December 27, “CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany. If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign. Can you imagine my saying NO? We brought or gave NO hats as the Fake News first reported!”

There were no polling results yet on the president’s initial opportunity to have “boots on the ground” in a combat zone.

Research contact: @nytimes

Mum’s the word: What mothers-in-law say about their daughters-in-law

December 11, 2018

It’s a fact of life that you don’t just marry a man or a woman; you marry their family–and their relationship with each member of that family—for better or for worse..

If a son is close to his mother, for example, many women would take that as a good sign–believing that, if he respects and loves the alpha female in his life, he also will be a good husband and provider.

Indeed, on a personal level, a woman might dream that she will be perceived by her partner’s mom as “the daughter she never had.” Meanwhile, his mom might have a fantasy of her own—assuming that, since her future daughter-in-law is ”crazy about her son,” this younger woman will appreciate every piece of advice about taking care of him and ensuring his happiness. After all, who knows him better than mom?

Wrong on both sides! In fact, fully 60% of women use words like “strained,” “Infuriating,” and “simply awful” to describe their mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship, according to psychologist Terri Apter of the UK’s Cambridge University who attributes such rifts to “the clash of the fantasy lives,” in a 2009 Newsweek interview.

It’s the disappointment felt by both women that “gives these relationships their distinctive negative charge,” Apter says. Add to that a mother’s conflicted feelings of pride and loss as a son marries; a wife’s insecurity that she’s adequately balancing work and home responsibilities, and the tendency of most women to be more sensitive to slights and criticisms than men, and you have the formula for years of trouble.

In some respects, Apter says, the ensuing jockeying for position has a lot of similarities to the games “mean girls” play in middle-school hallways. “Each is the primary woman in her primary family. As each tries to establish or protect her status, each feels threatened by the other.”

However, for a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, the benefits of working toward and maintaining a close relationship cannot be overstated, as Geoffrey Greif and Michael Woolley—both academicians at the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland in Baltimore—found in a study published in November by the journal Social Work.

The study, also covered in the December 7 edition of Psychology Today surveyed 267 mothers-in-law  on the factors that they felt were key in establishing closeness with their daughters-in-law.

From a 114 item survey, the researchers used the statement, “My daughter-in-law and I have a close relationship” as a dependent variable. Among the factors they found that encouraged a close relationship were the following:

  • The mother-in-law perceives the daughter-in-law as being helpful;
  • The mother-in-law perceives her son is happy with the relationship she has with the daughter-in-law;
  • The mother-in-law perceives she and the daughter-in-law share similar interests;
  • The mother-in-law feels close with her son;
  • The mother-in-law does not feel left out by her daughter-in-law and son; and
  • The mother-in-law spends time with her daughter-in-law.

For those mothers-in-law struggling with their relationship with their daughter-in-law, a few takeaways emerged from the findings, the authors told Psychology Today—among them:

  • First, a mother-in-law should engage her daughter-in-law in ways and situations in which she can be helpful. Are there opportunities that are not being used where some level of mutuality can be built?
  • Second, similar to the first, a mother-in-law should try to find shared interests with a daughter-in-law because such joint activities can help to build a relationship
  • Third, look at the relationship the son/spouse plays in the relationship with the daughter-in-law. It goes without saying that most mothers want to be close with their son; when they are close, they are more likely to be close with their daughter-in-law also. To help build closeness with the son, the mother-in-law should recognize that building a relationship with her daughter-in-law may facilitate closeness with the son who is an extremely important person in this relationship.
  • Fourth, the mother-in-law should work to explore her own feelings of inclusion or exclusion. Feeling left out is not pleasant. If there are ways to try to understand what is leading to these feelings (remembering the demands that couples, especially those raising children, are experiencing), a path may be found to experiencing them less often

Finally, author Geoffrey Greif says, don’t get discouraged: Building a close relationship may require time, patience, and effort:

Research contact: ggreif@ssw.umarylandedu

Babies and chimps are from the same ‘happy family’

November 16, 2018

Unlike other primates, humans generally laugh only as we exhale—but we don’t start out that way. An international team of psychologists has found that babies laugh both as they exhale and inhale—in a similar manner to nonhuman primates such as chimps and gorillas, based on a paper presented earlier this month at the Acoustical Society of America’s 176th Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia.

“The original idea for this specific project came from an observation of baby laughter and the thought that it sounded a bit like chimp laughter,” lead investigator Disa Sauter, a social psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, told Newsweek for a November 7 report.

The team studied recordings of laughter from 44 infants and children, from three months to 18 months old, taken from online videos in which they were engaged in playful interactions. Then, the researchers asked 102 student participants to evaluate whether they thought the laughs in each clip were produced on the inhale or the exhale, Newsweek said.

Participants believed that the youngest babies laughed on both inhalation and exhalation, like chimps and other nonhuman primates. The older babies were only perceived to laugh on the exhale, like older children and adults.

“Our results show a gradual change in the proportion of laughter occurring on the inhale, such that younger infants seem to laugh in a way that is not dissimilar to chimpanzees on this measure, whereas older infants are more similar to human adults,” Sauter told the news outlet.

“Adult humans sometimes laugh on the inhale but the proportion is markedly different from that of infants’ and chimps’ laughs.”

This change in the proportion of laughter occurring on the inhale compared to the exhale does not appear to be linked to any particular developmental milestones, according to the researchers.

It is important to note, however, that these results are only preliminary because they are based on the judgments of non-expert listeners.

“We are currently checking those results against judgments by phoneticians, who are making detailed annotations of the laughter,” Sauter told Newsweek.

The researchers say there is no accepted explanation as to why humans are the only primates that laugh solely on the exhale.

“One possibility that we considered is that it may have to do with whether laughter is produced in a context of physical play (for example, tickling) or not,” she said. “However, so far our results don’t support that idea. Another possibility is that it could be linked to developmental motor milestones like walking, but again, we’re not seeing evidence of this in the data. Our best explanation for now is that the change in how humans laugh is linked to learning to control vocal production because of the human speech production system.”

The team has also been investigating whether there is a link between the amount of laughter produced upon inhalation and exhalation, and the reasons why individuals laugh—something that changes with age. Infants and younger babies laugh as a result of physical play like tickling. This is the same for older humans, but many kinds of social interactions, for example, jokes, can also elicit laughter.

Research contact: d.a.sauter@uva.nl