The Laughter Epidemic In Tanzania

The Laughter Epidemic In Tanzania

Despite its name, the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962 was hardly funny. Laughter was probably one symptom of a Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI), which also involved fainting, respiratory ailments, crying, and screaming. The school was forced to close down about a month and a half after the initial "outbreak" of laughter, but the symptoms spread throughout the nearby village and other areas. Sometime between 6 to 18 months later, after the closure of even more schools, the phenomenon ceased.

06:31

from It's Okay To Be Smart

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Primates, dogs, and rats all exhibit laughter. (2:25)

  • 2

    In 1962, school children in Tanzania experienced omuneepo—a Swahili term meaning "laughing disease." (3:29)

  • 3

    Younger people are more susceptible to contagious laughter. (5:02)

See all

Animals

Memory

Phobia

Volcanoes

Get smarter every day! Like us on Facebook.
You'll get the most interesting and engaging topics in your feed, straight from our team of experts.