Breaking: Laughter could solve Hodge conjecture

Forget angst-ridden artists or conflicted mathematical geniuses. Using a laughing baby video for his prop, Clive Thompson blogs that finding your happy place isn't just good for laughs.

[D]id you suspect that it also made you smarter?

According to a group of researchers at the University of Western Ontario, it actually can. The team — led by grad student Ruby Nadler — were interested in the way that emotion affects our thinking abilities. Cognitive scientists have known for some time that being in a good mood improves many aspects of thought; in particular, it boosts your “cognitive flexibility” — your ability to detect unusual relationships between things, and to figure out new, different ways to solve problems.

So laugh a little, you might trip over the solution to the Hodge conjecture, or hyperventilate with that terrible ache in your side like that time when milk shot out of the nose of your little brother. Either one.

Read the rest of Thompson's post here.