Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

A nice synopsis of some reasons for laughter

Posted 03 Aug 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher EducationWhat’s So Funny?

I appreciate the different theories of laughter presented here and the way that they are connected to adaptive behavior and ultimately to evolution.

Like a lot of other behaviors that I am interested in — most prominently music production and play — laughter is one of those behaviors that we could easily label as “uniquely human”. Analogs of human laughter in other animals diverge radically from the way our species laughs, and it is hard to determine whether that divergence suggests common ancestry or simply false analogy.

Still, there are some fundamentals of laughter that might pervade nature. One is that laughter is usually a form of communication (perhaps, in the case of humans, sometimes even communication with the self — as in “that was a funny thing I saw”). Humans may have started with laughter in all of its communicative forms and then modified and expanded its use by making it a meta-cognitive process (as in the “incongruity” theory of laughter).

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Communication, Emotion, Human Uniqueness, Play, Web

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