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Information about laughter

Published on June 17, 2007

Author: Crystal


LAUGHTER AND SMILING:  LAUGHTER AND SMILING by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen LAUGHTER VS. SMILING:  LAUGHTER VS. SMILING Because smiles can sometimes evolve into laughs and laughs can taper off into smiles, some people think that laughter is merely a form of exaggerated smiling. However, smiles are more likely to express feelings of satisfaction or good will, while laughter comes from surprise or a recognition of an incongruity. Furthermore, laughter is basically a public event while smiling is basically a private event. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 184) Slide3:  Laughter is a social phenomenon. That’s why 'getting the giggles' never happens when we are alone. In contrast, people often smile when they are reading or even when they are having private thoughts. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185) Slide4:  Smiling is not contagious, but laughter is contagious. That’s why radio and television comedy performances often have a laugh track. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185) PHILOSOPHERS’ STATEMENTS ABOUT LAUGHTER:  PHILOSOPHERS’ STATEMENTS ABOUT LAUGHTER Throughout time, philosophers have made many statements about laughter that are not true of smiling. These philosophers include Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, William Hazlitt, Arthur Schopenhauer, Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud. Each of these philosophers defined laughter in a different way: THOMAS HOBBES:  THOMAS HOBBES Laughter is 'the sudden glory arising from the sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others.' (Leviathan, 1651) IMMANUEL KANT:  IMMANUEL KANT 'Laughter is an affection arising from a strained expectation being suddenly reduced to nothing.' (The Critique of Judgment, 1790) WILLIAM HAZLITT:  WILLIAM HAZLITT 'The essence of the laughable is the incongruous, the disconnecting one idea from another, or the jostling of one feeling against another.' (Lecturers on the Comic Writers, Etc. of Great Britain, 1819) ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER:  ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER 'The phenomenon of laughter always signifies the sudden apprehension of an incongruity between a conception and the real object.' (The World as Will and Idea 1844) HENRI BERGSON:  HENRI BERGSON 'Something mechanical encrusted on the living causes laughter.' (Laughter 1900) SIGMUND FREUD:  SIGMUND FREUD Laughter arises from 'the release of previously existing static energy.' (Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, 1905) (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185) THE PARADOXES OF LAUGHTER:  THE PARADOXES OF LAUGHTER Although laughter is usually associated with mirth and joy, perpetrators of violent acts have also been known to exhibit menacing smiles, or to laugh demonically. The paradoxes of laughter have been addressed by many laughter scholars: JAMES AGEE:  JAMES AGEE James Agee classified the laughter of screen comedians into four categories: the titter, the yowl, the belly laugh, and the buffo. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185) GARY ALAN FINE:  GARY ALAN FINE Gary Alan Fine has explained that a smile in one society may portray friendliness, in another embarrassment, while in still another it may be a warning of hostilities and attack if tension is not reduced. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185) JACOB LEVINE:  JACOB LEVINE 'No pattern of human behavior is so full of paradoxes.' 'We may laugh in sympathy, from anxiety or relief, from anger or affection, and from joy or frustration.' 'Conditions that can evoke laughter include shyness, triumph, surprise, tickling, a funny story, an incongruous situation, a sense of well-being associated with good health, and a desire to conceal one’s inner thoughts.' (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185) D. G. KEHL CITING JAMES THURBER:  D. G. KEHL CITING JAMES THURBER There are a dozen different kinds of laughter, from the inner and inaudible to the guffaw, taking in such variants as the laughter of shock, embarrassment, the 'she-laughed-so-I-Iaughed-too,' and even the 'he-laughed-so-I-didn’t' laugh. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185) Del Kehl went on to divide laughter into ascending degrees of intensity: :  Del Kehl went on to divide laughter into ascending degrees of intensity: There is the simper or smirk, the snicker or snigger, the titter, the giggle, the chuckle, the simple laugh, the cackle, the cachinnation, the chortle, the belly laugh, the horse laugh, the Olympian or Homeric laugh, the guffaw, the boff or boffo, the crack up, the roar, the yowl or howl, the bellow, the hoot, and the shriek. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 185-186) TICKLING:  TICKLING People who laugh from being tickled are not necessarily put in a more receptive mood for enjoying the humor in jokes. This is because laughing from being tickled occurs in a part of the brain different from where laughter that is intellectually stimulated occurs. Slide19:  Furthermore, people cannot tickle themselves because the cerebelum in the lower back of the brain somehow sends an interfering message to the part of the brain that controls laughter. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 186) !FINAL CONTRAST OF HUMOR AND SMILING:  !FINAL CONTRAST OF HUMOR AND SMILING Anthony Chapman did a study in which he compared the actions of a group of children who knew they were being observed with a group who did not know they were being observed. The children who knew they were being watched laughed four times as often as did those in the other group. However, they smiled only half as much. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 186) !!PARADOXICAL CONCLUSION:  !!PARADOXICAL CONCLUSION Anthony Chapman concluded not only that laughter can be good or bad, depending on the situation. But he also concluded that humor is both the cause for laughter, and the result of laughter. That’s why humor and laughter are so closely associated. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 186) !!!LAUGHTER WEB SITES:  !!!LAUGHTER WEB SITES LAUGHAWAY (ARYA PATHRIA): LAUGHTER REMEDY (PAUL MCGHEE): LAUGHTER WORKS (KAY CASKEY AND LAURIE YOUNG) WORLD LAUGHTER TOUR (STEVE WILSON): Slide23:  References # 1: Attardo, Salvatore. Linguistic Theories of Humor. New York, NY: Mouton, 1994. Bainy, Moses. Why Do We Laugh and Cry? West Ryde, Australia: Sunlight Publications, 1993. Berger, Arthur Asa. Redeeming Laughter. New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter, 1997. Bergson, Henri Louis. Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic. New York, NY: MacMillan, 1924. Caron, James E. 'From Ethology to Aesthetics: Evolution as a Theoretical Paradigm for Research on Laughter, Humor, and Other Comic Phenomena.' HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 15.3 (2002): 245-282. Slide24:  References # 2: Chapman, Antony J., and Hugh C. Foot, eds. Humor and Laughter: Theory, Research, and Applications. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1996. Derks, Peter, Lynn S. Gillikin, Debbie S. Bartolome-Rull, and Edward H. Bogart. 'Laughter and Electroencephalographic Activity.' HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 10.3 (1997): 285-300. Dudden, Arthur P. The Assault of Laughter. New York, NY: A. S. Barnes, 1962. Eastman, Max. Enjoyment of Laughter. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1936. Eckardt, A. Roy. Sitting in the Earth and Laughing: A Handbook of Humor. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1992. Slide25:  References # 3: Fry, William F., and William M. Savin. 'Mirthful Laughter and Blood Pressure.' HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 1.1 (1988): 49-62. Gelbart, Larry. Laughing Matters. New York, NY: Random House, 1998. Goldstein, Jeffrey H. 'Therapeutic Effects of Laughter.' Handbook of Humor and Psychotherapy: Advances in the Clinical Use of Humor. Eds. William Fry and Waleed Salameh. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange, 1987, 1-20. Goodman, Joel. 'How to Get More Smileage Out of Your Life: Making Sense of Humor, Then Serving It.' Handbook of Research in Humor: Volume 2, Applied Studies Eds. P. E. McGhee, and J. H. Goldstein. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1983, 1-21. Gray, Frances. Women and Laughter. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1994. Slide26:  References # 4: Greig, J. Y. T. The Psychology of Laughter and Comedy. New York, NY: Cooper Square, 1969. Grimm, Reinhold, ed. Laughter Unlimited. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1991. Gruner, Charles R. The Game of Humor: A Comprehensive Theory of Why We Laugh. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1997. Gutwirth, Marcel. Laughing Matter: An Essay on the Comic. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. Hageseth, G. A Laughing Place: The Art and Psychology of Positive Humor in Love and Adversity Fort Collins, CO: Berwick, 1988. Slide27:  References # 5: Hertzler, Joyce O. Laughter: A Socio-Scientific Analysis. New York, NY: Exposition Press, 1970. Holden, Robert. Laughter--The Best Medicine. London, England: Thorsons, 1995. Holland, Norman N. Laughing: A Psychology of Humor. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ Press, 1982. Kehl, D. G. 'Varieties of Risible Experience: Grades of Laughter in Modern American Literature.' HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 13.4 (2000): 279-395. Lampert, Martin D., and Susan Ervin-Tripp. 'Risky Laughter: Teasing and Self-Directed Joking among Male and Female Friends.' Journal of Pragmatics, 38.1 (2006): 51-72. Slide28:  References # 6: Lipman, Steve. Laughter in Hell: The Use of Humor during the Holocaust. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1991. McGhee, Paul E. The Laughter Remedy: Health, Healing, and the Amuse System. Randolph, NJ: The Laughter Remedy, 1991. Mahony, Diana L. and Louis G. Lippman, eds. 'Introduction to the Special Issue on `Humor and Laughter.'' Journal of General Psychology 128.2 (2001): 117-119. Martin, Rod A. 'Humor, Laughter, and Physical Health: Methodological Issues and Research Findings.' Psychological Bulletin 127.4 (2001): 504-519. Martin, Rod A. The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach. London, England: Elsevier, 2007. Slide29:  References # 7: Morreall, John. Taking Laughter Seriously. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1983. Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000. Nwokah, Evangeline, and Alan Fogel. 'Laughter in Mother-Infant Emotional Communication.' HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research. 6.2 (1993): 137-162. Paul, William. Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994. Slide30:  References # 8: Peter, Laurence, and Bill Dana. The Laughter Prescription. New York, NY: Ballentine, 1982. Provine, Robert R. Laughter: A Scientific Investigation. New York, NY: Harmondsworth/Penguin, 2001. Ruch, Willibald, and Lambert Deckers. 'Do Extroverts Like to Laugh? An Analysis of the Situational Humor Response Questionnaire.' European Journal of Personality 7.4 (1993): 211-220. Russell, Roy E. Life, Mind and Laughter: A Theory of Laughter. Chicago, IL: Adams Press, 1987. Slide31:  References # 9: Sanders, Barry. Sudden Glory: Laughter as Subversive History. Boston, MA: Beacon, 1995. Scruton, Roger. 'Laughter.' The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor. Ed. John Morreall. Albany, NY: SUNY, 1987, 156-171. Wickberg, Daniel. The Sense of Humor: Self and Laughter in Modern America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998. Wooten, Patty. Compassionate Laughter: Jest for Your Health. New York, NY: Commune-a-Key, 1996.

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