Laughter and the mesial and lateral premotor cortex

J. J. Schmitt, J. Janszky, F. Woermann, I. Tuxhorn, A. Ebner

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17 Citations (Scopus)


We report the induction of laughter and smiling by cortical electrical stimulation of the frontal lobe of two patients: an 18-month-old boy with a left frontal cortical lesion extending to the vertex and the central gyrus, and a 35-year-old woman with a lesion in the right supplementary sensorimotor area (SSMA). The subjects underwent presurgical epilepsy evaluation with subdural grid electrodes to determine surgical candidacy. Stimulation of the prefrontal area reproducibly induced laughter. The adult patient reported absence of emotional content. Slowing of speech occurred under stimulation of electrodes in the upper and posterior vicinity. In this patient laughter was elicited in the anterior part of the SSMA. In the child, this response was induced by stimulation of the lateral prefrontal cortex near the midline. We conclude that the anterior portion of the SSMA/lateral premotor cortex is involved in generating the motor pattern of laughter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-775
Number of pages3
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2006



  • Electrical stimulation
  • Gelastic epilepsy
  • Laughter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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