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Entropy 2016, 18(1), 36; doi:10.3390/e18010036

The Entropy of Laughter: Discriminative Power of Laughter’s Entropy in the Diagnosis of Depression

1
Aragon Institute of Health Science (IACS), Zaragoza 50009, Spain
2
Aragon Health Research Institute (IIS Aragón), Zaragoza 50009, Spain
3
Servicios Informáticos, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid 28040, Spain
4
Department of Applied Mathematics (Biomathematics), Faculty of Biological Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid 28040, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Raúl Alcaraz Martínez
Received: 29 October 2015 / Revised: 22 December 2015 / Accepted: 18 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
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Abstract

Laughter is increasingly present in biomedical literature, both in analytical neurological aspects and in applied therapeutic fields. The present paper, bridging between the analytical and the applied, explores the potential of a relevant variable of laughter’s acoustic signature—entropy—in the detection of a widespread mental disorder, depression, as well as in gauging the severity of its diagnostic. In laughter, the Shannon–Wiener entropy of the distribution of sound frequencies, which is one of the key features distinguishing its acoustic signal from the utterances of spoken language, has not been a specific focus of research yet, although the studies of human language and of animal communication have pointed out that entropy is a very important factor regarding the vocal/acoustic expression of emotions. As the experimental survey of laughter in depression herein undertaken shows, it was possible to discriminate between patients and controls with an 82.1% accuracy just by using laughter’s entropy and by applying the decision tree procedure. These experimental results, discussed in the light of the current research on laughter, point to the relevance of entropy in the spontaneous bona fide extroversion of mental states toward other individuals, as the signal of laughter seems to imply. This is in line with recent theoretical approaches that rely on the optimization of a neuro-informational free energy (and associated entropy) as the main “stuff” of brain processing. View Full-Text
Keywords: entropy of laughter; neuropsychiatry; depression; laughter; sound structures; plosives entropy of laughter; neuropsychiatry; depression; laughter; sound structures; plosives
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Navarro, J.; del Moral, R.; Cuesta-Alvaro, P.; Lahoz-Beltra, R.; Marijuán, P.C. The Entropy of Laughter: Discriminative Power of Laughter’s Entropy in the Diagnosis of Depression. Entropy 2016, 18, 36.

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