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Current studies have not yet reached consensus on the exact purpose of amusement, though theories have been advanced in the fields of psychology, psychiatry and sociology.
In addition, the precise mechanism that causes a given element (image, sound, behavior, etc.) to be perceived as more or less 'amusing' than another, similar element to a particular individual is not clearly understood.
Researchers hypothesize that perhaps happier people have stronger self-esteem or self-efficacy and are therefore more willing and able to leave a bad marriage.
He also notes that across all peoples humans can laugh until they are panting and tears roll down their cheeks.
In the 1960s, Paul Ekman, an American psychologist, revived the study of emotional expression, proposing, like Darwin, that emotions were universally recognizable.
Then at ages 36, 43, and 53, researchers went back to the same people to measure their incidence of mental disorder, life satisfaction (participants rated themselves), and social lives.
Teens in one of the positive categories grew up to have more social contact and higher life satisfaction.