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Humor and Laughter in Social Interaction and some Implications for Humor Research

Chapter

Abstract

In modern analyses of humor and laughter, social scientists have begun to recognize the potential importance of social variables. But this recognition is by no means universal. For example, Berlyne (1972) alleged that because laughter can be generated in a solitary individual, “it seems doubtful that its prime significance is a social one” (p. 51). The view taken in this account is more in line with that of Hertzler (1970) who wrote of laughter: “[it] is a social phenomenon. It is social in its origin, in its processual occurrence, in its functions, and in its effects” (p. 28). That view borders on an extreme, but nonetheless humor’s social functions may be its most crucial for modern man. Humor can serve as a useful and convenient triggering device permitting laughter to serve a myriad of functions in a manner that is, at least physically, harmless.

Keywords

Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation Mobile Laboratory Social Facilitation Intergroup Relation British Psychological Society 
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References

Reference Notes

  1. 1.
    Chapman, A. J. Humor and social responsiveness. Paper presented at the Bi-Annual General Meeting of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology, Weimar (DDR), 1978.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chapman, A. J. Children’s humour and laughter. Paper presented to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, Developmental Section, Durham, 1982.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chapman, A. J. Response to humor or to the social situation? Paper presented to the Third International Conference on Humor, Washington, D.C., 1982.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chapman, A. J. Children’s social interactions in same-age and mixed-age dyads. Paper presented to the Developmental Section at the London Conference of the British Psychological Society, 1977.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chapman, A. J. Mixed-age effects in children’s social and humor responsiveness. Paper presented to the Second International Conference on Humor, Los Angeles, 1979.Google Scholar

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