What is the real/original purpose of laugh tracks? I get that originally it’s to simulate the feel of a live taping. But why is it still used nowadays?

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What is the real/original purpose of laugh tracks? I get that originally it’s to simulate the feel of a live taping. But why is it still used nowadays?

In: Culture

because research has shown that people watching on tv laugh with the laugh tracks. it’s like a cue for a joke so the director can stress laugh points.

It’s always been used to prime an audience. Humans are empathetic pack animals and our brains tend to mirror the inputs around us. By adding a laugh track it tells our brain that people around us find this funny so we should enjoy it also.

Fun fact to add to this: Many shows use laugh tracks recorded in the 50s and 60s still, so many of the laughs you hear are now deceased.

As social creatures we respond well to certain social cues.

Laughing is kind of contagious, when other people laugh we aare more likely to laugh ourself and the laughing itself releases certain neurotransmitters and hormones that make us happy/feel good.

So by using a laugh track, they trick you into enjoying it more.

We’re complicated creatures and those social cues may be ignored for different reasons, but it influeces us a little.

A show without a laugh track may not be that funny to us, but hearing others laugh encourages us to do the same.

They actually started as you mentioned when more and more shows starting being pre-recorded. One of the early purposes was to fill in the laughs if the audience missed a joke. There is actually a laugh track machine with different types/volumes of laughs assigned to different keys. And as someone else mentioned, many of these laughs are old recordings and you can hear the same laughs on different shows.