Eli5 why do people cover their mouths when they laugh


Seems to happen across cultures. Why?

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I have read somewhere that in some cultures it was taught that laughter made a person look ugly somehow. This habit a is residual behavior.

There is a social stigma against being seen with your mouth open. Think about non-eating or talking mouth ventures. Yawns? Gasps? Laughing? Women especially cover their mouths as if they are afraid of looking like donkey with their mouths open.

I took terrible care of my teeth growing up and you can tell if you see them, so I usually cover my mouth because I’m embarrassed.