Watch out for those laughs next time you crack a joke because those people laughing might just be doing it so that they don't offend you.
Researchers have shown why people tend to laugh even when they don't find a joke funny and why this could be dangerous later.
According to Joyce Ehrlinger, an author of the study from Florida State University, people laugh even at unfunny jokes because society trains everybody to be polite and not hurt others' feelings.
The reason many people have extremely positive image of themselves is because other people around them- friends, family and co-workers- stay away from telling them negative things out of politeness.
In the present study, researchers created a socially awkward situation by getting unacquainted people talk about their view on a controversial issue. One person from the study group was asked to persuade others about his view. Researchers found that most group members smiled vaguely or remained silent to avoid conflicts, leaving the arguer believe that he has superior debating skills.
In another study, people who were overconfident paid little attention to how often people laughed at their jokes. These people couldn't make out the difference between a real and a polite laugh.
Medical Daily had earlier reported a study that had found that most people can accurately detect fake laughs from the genuine ones.
Overconfidence doesn't really harm anybody, but there are times when it is good to know what other people are really thinking about you.
"There's definitely no harm in some types of overconfidence, and I am not suggesting that we should stop living in a polite society. The worst that might come from someone believing that they are funnier than, in reality, they are is a bit of embarrassment or wasted effort auditioning for 'America's Got Talent,'" said Ehrlinger.
"Overconfident doctors and lawyers might offer their patients or clients poor advice. There are ways in which overconfidence is dangerous, and it might be important to set aside politeness in the service of helping people avoid the perils of overconfidence," she added.
The study findings will be presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th convention in Orlando, Fla., in August.
Published by Medicaldaily.com