While exploring the neuroscience of speech and vocal behavior, Sophie Scott stumbled upon a surprising second vocation: making audiences laugh as a stand-up comic.

Why you should listen

As deputy director of the University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Sophie Scott seeks out the neurological basis of communication, whether it’s speech or vocalized emotion.

As a pioneering researcher in the science of laughter, she’s made some unexpected discoveries -- including that rats are ticklish, and that the one tactic that’s almost guaranteed to get someone to laugh is to show them someone else laughing. But as an occasional stand-up comedian with UCL’s Bright Club, she shows that she’s no slouch at getting laughs herself.

What others say

““For Scott, laughter is more than displaying amusement -- it's a primal way of showing people that we like them and want them to like us.”” — CNN.com, October 15, 2013

Sophie Scott’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Sophie Scott

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