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Laughter and mirth are essential in our enjoyment of daily life and in facilitating communication. Various studies have been done relating to the emotional processing that takes place in the human cerebral cortex, but few have explored the cerebral origins of mirth. Some reports on pathological laughter have implicated the hypothalamus, brain stem, and temporal lobe.1–3
As part of the presurgical evaluation of patients with epilepsy, electric cortical stimulation is used to delineate the functional cortical areas, and sometimes this elicits various emotional responses.4 However, only two stimulation studies2,5 have been conducted with a focus on mirth and laughter. Arroyo et al suggested that the motor act of laughter and the processing of its emotional content were separately represented in, respectively, the anterior cingulate area and the basal temporal area (the fusiform gyrus or parahippocampal gyrus, or both).2 Fried et al suggested not only that laughter and mirth were represented in the presupplementary motor area, but also that there was close linkage between the motor, affective, and cognitive components of laughter.5
We report a patient in whom electric cortical stimulation applied to the inferior temporal gyrus produced mirth alone or laughter preceded by mirth, depending on the intensity of the stimulation.
A 24 year old right handed …