Article

Laughter Punctuates Speech: Linguistic, Social and Gender Contexts of Laughter

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Abstract

The relation between laughter and speech was investigated by describing the position of naturally occurring laughter in the speech stream of anonymous young adults observed in public places. Laughter of both speaker and audience occurred during pauses at the end of phrases or sentences in over 99 % of the sample of 1200 episodes of laughter, indicating that speech has priority access to the single vocalization channel and that a lawful process governs the placement of laughter in speech. Laughter is not randomly scattered throughout the speech stream. Laughter followed both statements and questions and material that did not seem humorous outside of the conversational context. Speakers, especially females, laughed more than their audiences, but the relative amount of speaker and audience laughter depended on the gender composition of a group. Audiences of both males and females laughed more to male than female speakers. These baseline data provide insights into gender differences, normal and abnormal emotional behavior and define variables for future studies of neuro-and psychopathology.

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... Thus, a speaker may say or sign, "I have to go nowha-ha," but rarely, "I have toha-hago now." The placement of laughter in vocal or signed conversation is akin to punctuation in written text and is termed the punctuation effect (Provine 1993;Provine & Emmorey 2006). Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
Article
Full-text available
Whether in sign or speech, language is more integrative than the target article suggests. A more integrative view embraces not only sign/speech and co-sign/speech gesture, but also indicative gestures irrespective of modality, and locations along with movements in the signed modality, as suggested by both linguistic acquisition and pathologies. An extended integrative view also proves advantageous in terms of conceptual coherence.
... Various research supports this theory, and the view that HPA is valued differently and divulges disparate information for men and women. Compared to men, choosier women value humor as a more important trait when selecting a mate, while men make more effort to impress women and advertise their humor ability, including in real ecological settings, such as dyadic conversations and on dating sites (Lippa, 2007;Provine, 1993;Sprecher & Regan, 2002;Todosijević et al., 2003;Wilbur & Campbell, 2011). Women also prefer a man with higher HPA, while men are more attracted to a woman that laughs at their humor, rather than a woman with high HPA, as smiles and laughter signal the woman may have a romantic interest in them Hone, Hurwitz, & Lieberman, 2015). ...
... Thus, studying various dyadic interactions of men and women in more ecologically valid situations, such as natural conversations, is crucial for fully understanding when and how sex differences in HPA emerge. Relatively few researchers conduct these types of studies (Hall, 2015;Provine, 1993Provine, , 2000). Still, humor is largely a social phenomenon and most humor is created in a social context while interacting with other people. ...
... Still, humor is largely a social phenomenon and most humor is created in a social context while interacting with other people. Studying humorous interactions in the lab (Hall, 2015), or observing them in natural settings (Provine, 1993(Provine, , 2000) should be a fruitful endeavor that requires more of our effort. ...
Article
Full-text available
We offer the first systematic quantitative meta-analysis on sex differences in humor production ability. We included studies where participants created humor output that was assessed for funniness by independent raters. Our meta-analysis includes 36 effect sizes from 28 studies published between 1976 and 2018 (N = 5057, 67% women). Twenty of the 36 effect sizes, accounting for 61% of the participants, were not previously published. Results based on random-effects model revealed that men’s humor output was rated as funnier than women’s, with a combined effect size d = 0.321. Results were robust across various moderators and study characteristics, and multiple tests indicated that publication bias is unlikely. Both evolutionary and cultural explanations were considered and discussed.
... Thus, a speaker may say or sign, "I have to go nowha-ha," but rarely, "I have toha-hago now." The placement of laughter in vocal or signed conversation is akin to punctuation in written text and is termed the punctuation effect (Provine 1993;Provine & Emmorey 2006). Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
Article
The commentaries have led us to entertain expansions of our paradigm to include new theoretical questions, new criteria for what counts as a gesture, and new data and populations to study. The expansions further reinforce the approach we took in the target article: namely, that linguistic and gestural components are two distinct yet integral sides of communication, which need to be studied together.
... Thus, a speaker may say or sign, "I have to go nowha-ha," but rarely, "I have toha-hago now." The placement of laughter in vocal or signed conversation is akin to punctuation in written text and is termed the punctuation effect (Provine 1993;Provine & Emmorey 2006). Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
Article
Goldin-Meadow & Brentari (G-M&B) are implicitly going against the dominant paradigm in language research, namely, the “speech as written language” metaphor that portrays vocal sounds and bodily signs as means of delivering stable word meanings. We argue that Heinz Werner's classical research on the physiognomic properties of language supports and complements their view of sign and gesture as a unified system.
... Laughter and smiling have different social functions. Laughter is more likely to occur in company than in solitude [19], and punctuates rather than interrupts speech [37]; it frequently occurs when a conversation topic is ending [3], and can show affiliation with a speaker [20], while smiling is often used to express politeness [22]. In amused speech, both smiling and laughter can occur together or independently. ...
... The phenomenon has not been clearly defined in the literature. Provine reports laughter occurring mostly at the extremities of a sentences [37], while Nowkah et al. [34] report that up to 50% of conversational laughter is produced simultaneously with speech. Kohler notes the occurrence of speech -smiled speech -speech-laugh -laughter and vice versa sequencing in amusing situations in a small-scale study and mentions the need for further investigations [25]. ...
... The AmuS database contains amused smiled speech, different types of speech-laughs and also laughs. We hope that the collection will thus reflect the fact that laughter can interrupt or intermingle with speech [25,34,43], or happen at the extremities of sentences [37]. Several laughter databases can be found related to isolated laughter [10], but we know of no speech-laugh database suitable for machine learning-based work or analysis. ...
Conference Paper
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In this paper we present the AmuS database of about three hours worth of data related to amused speech recorded from two males and one female subjects and contains data in two languages French and English. We review previous work on smiled speech and speech-laughs. We describe acoustic analysis on part of our database, and a perception test comparing speech-laughs with smiled and neutral speech. We show the efficiency of the data in AmuS for synthesis of amused speech by training HMM-based models for neutral and smiled speech for each voice and comparing them using an on-line CMOS test.
... There is evidence that humans laugh in a variety of ways in order to influence their social worlds [26] and convey a range of intentional states [27,28,29]. Thus, the extension of a social-functional analysis of smiles to laughter seems theoretically feasible. ...
... Thus, like spontaneous laughter, laughs that act as reward signals are probably especially salient [32], contagious [33,34], and enjoyable for producers [35] and listeners [36]. An affiliation laugh in the present framework most likely corresponds to the previously-identified "social" laughter, which often occurs in non-humorous social encounters and appears to serve relationship maintenance [25,28] and conversation smoothing [27] functions. Like its smile counterpart, laughter of affiliation in theory serves to efficiently indicate that the subject of the laughter intends no threat and that the relationship itself is not in danger. ...
... Separately for each social judgment dimension à acoustic variable combination (see Table 3 for correlations between the dimensions), we regressed participants' raw responses on the acoustic variable (see Fig 1 for scatterplots for each variable). In all models, we included interactions between the acoustic variable and actor sex, given the sex differences in acoustic properties of laughter [62], frequency of "social" laughter [27], and the social acceptability of dominance displays [63]. Analyses were conducted in the R environment [64] using the lme4 package [65] for model fitting and the lmerTest package [66] for calculating denominator degrees of freedom using Satterthwaite's approximations. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent work has identified the physical features of smiles that accomplish three tasks fundamental to human social living: rewarding behavior, establishing and managing affiliative bonds, and negotiating social status. The current work extends the social functional account to laughter. Participants (N = 762) rated the degree to which reward, affiliation, or dominance (between-subjects) was conveyed by 400 laughter samples acquired from a commercial sound effects website. Inclusion of a fourth rating dimension, spontaneity, allowed us to situate the current approach in the context of existing laughter research, which emphasizes the distinction between spontaneous and volitional laughter. We used 11 acoustic properties extracted from the laugh samples to predict participants’ ratings. Actor sex moderated, and sometimes even reversed, the relation between acoustics and participants’ judgments. Spontaneous laughter appears to serve the reward function in the current framework, as similar acoustic properties guided perceiver judgments of spontaneity and reward: reduced voicing and increased pitch, increased duration for female actors, and increased pitch slope, center of gravity, first formant, and noisiness for male actors. Affiliation ratings diverged from reward in their sex-dependent relationship to intensity and, for females, reduced pitch range and raised second formant. Dominance displayed the most distinct pattern of acoustic predictors, including increased pitch range, reduced second formant in females, and decreased pitch variability in males. We relate the current findings to existing findings on laughter and human and non-human vocalizations, concluding laughter can signal much more that felt or faked amusement.
... Laughter thus reflects a basic positive social emotion and signals that our intent is play rather than assault. Provine (1993) examined the social context of laughter in a naturalistic setting by unobtrusively observing 1,200 instances of spontaneous laughter in a variety of human interactions, ranging from suburban shopping malls to a university student union. Provine found that only 10% to 15% of the laughter was a reaction to humor. ...
... Our third set of questions involved the relationship between client laughter and gender. As noted earlier, Provine (1993) found gender differences in laughter, and we wondered if these would hold for psychotherapy. Our research question was: What is the relationship between the characteristics of laughter events and client gender, therapist gender, and the interaction between client and therapist gender? ...
... The finding that laughter was rated as more polite than cheerful in the present study fits with Provine's (1993) theory that the required stimulus for laughter is typically the interaction with another person rather than a joke, and the laughter may thus act as a social lubricant. One possible reason that laughter was rated high on reflectiveness is that clients were somewhat ruefully amused when they came to new realizations about themselves. ...
Article
We studied 814 client laughter events nested within 330 sessions nested within 33 clients nested within 16 therapists at one community clinic in which doctoral student therapists provided psychodynamic psychotherapy to adult community clients. Each laughter event in Sessions 1 to 5 and 16 to 20 was rated for cheerfulness, politeness, reflectiveness, contemptuousness, and nervousness. Across all clients, there was an average of about one laughter even per session. The average laughter event lasted 3.5 seconds, and was characterized primarily by politeness and reflectiveness. Overall amount of client laughter and the characteristics of client laughter did not change across sessions. Most of the variance in the laughter characteristics was at the session level, with less variance attributable to clients and therapists. When client attachment avoidance was high, laughter was less cheerful and more contemptuous. When client attachment anxiety was high, laughter was more nervous. Sessions with more reflective laughter were evaluated more positively by clients, and therapists whose clients had more reflective laughter had more positive client session evaluations. Furthermore, within a therapist’s caseload, clients with the most nervous and contemptuous laughter evaluated sessions most positively. Implications are discussed.
... Thus, a speaker may say or sign, "I have to go nowha-ha," but rarely, "I have toha-hago now." The placement of laughter in vocal or signed conversation is akin to punctuation in written text and is termed the punctuation effect (Provine 1993;Provine & Emmorey 2006). Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
Article
Full-text available
Goldin-Meadow & Brentari (G-M&B) rely on a formalist approach to language, leading them to seek objective criteria by which to distinguish language and gesture. This results in the assumption that gradient aspects of signs are gesture. Usage-based theories challenge this view, maintaining that all linguistic units exhibit gradience. Instead, we propose that the distinction between language and gesture is a categorization problem.
... The social function of laughter is striking-people laugh 30 times more frequently in social than in solitary situations (Provine & Fischer, 1989). Both the speaker and audience laugh during conversation, with the relative proportion varying with gender and familiarity (Grammer, 1990;Provine, 1993;Smoski & Bachorowski, 2003). Males and females, for example, are more likely to laugh in response to a male than a female speaker (Provine, 1993). ...
... Both the speaker and audience laugh during conversation, with the relative proportion varying with gender and familiarity (Grammer, 1990;Provine, 1993;Smoski & Bachorowski, 2003). Males and females, for example, are more likely to laugh in response to a male than a female speaker (Provine, 1993). Contrary to folk wisdom, most conversational laughter follows banal comments like ''I've got to go now,'' not jokes or other formal attempts at humor (Provine, 1993). ...
... Males and females, for example, are more likely to laugh in response to a male than a female speaker (Provine, 1993). Contrary to folk wisdom, most conversational laughter follows banal comments like ''I've got to go now,'' not jokes or other formal attempts at humor (Provine, 1993). Laughter is not exclusive to humans, being shared with great apes and, perhaps, other mammals (Provine, 1996(Provine, , 2000. ...
Article
Vocal laughter fills conversations between speakers with normal hearing and between deaf users of American Sign Language, but laughter rarely intrudes on the phrase structure of spoken or signed conversation, being akin to punctuation in written text. This punctuation effect indicates that language, whether vocal or signed, is dominant over laughter, and that speech and manual signing involve similar mechanisms.
... As one possibility to express emotions (especially joy), it has been dealt with already by Darwin [3]; studies on its acoustics, however, as well as its position in linguistic context -in the literal meaning of the word (where it can be found in the word chain, cf. [4]), and in the figurative sense (status and function)started more or less at the same time as ASR started to deal with paralinguistic phenomena. The acoustics of laughter are for example described in [5,6] and in further studies referred to in these articles. ...
... It turned out, however, that is was necessary to re-do and correct the annotation of laughter and speechlaugh for the whole database; this was done by the first author. 4 We decided not to annotate speech smile; we could only find a few somehow pronounced instances. ...
... In [4] it is claimed that laughter sort of punctuates speech, i. e. it is almost always found at those positions where we punctuate in written language. This turns out to hold true for our data as well: laughter is never internal. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this article, we study laughter found in child-robot interaction where it had not been prompted intentionally. Different types of laughter and speech-laugh are annotated and processed. In a descriptive part, we report on the position of laughter and speech-laugh in syntax and dialogue structure, and on communicative functions. In a second part, we report on automatic classification performance and on acoustic characteristics, based on extensive feature selection procedures.
... Thus, a speaker may say or sign, "I have to go nowha-ha," but rarely, "I have toha-hago now." The placement of laughter in vocal or signed conversation is akin to punctuation in written text and is termed the punctuation effect (Provine 1993;Provine & Emmorey 2006). Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
... Observations of conversational laughter reveal common features of speaking and signing beyond punctuation. For example, in both hearing speakers (Provine 1993) and deaf signers (Provine & Emmorey 2006), males are the best laughgetters (Provine 1993), and most laughter does not follow humor (Provine 1993). For hearing and deaf people, the essential requirement for laughter is playful social relationships, not jokes or other attempts to stimulate laughter (Provine & Fisher 1989). ...
Article
Gesture and sign form an integrated communication system, as do gesture and speech. Communicative acts in both systems combine categorical linguistic (words or signs) with imagistic (gestures) components. Additionally, both sign and speech can employ modifying components that convey iconic information tied to a linguistic base morpheme. An accurate analysis of communicative acts must take this third category into account.
... Trouvain [12] points out that there is an extreme heterogeneous terminology to denote units and sub-units of laughter. At the lowest level, the vowel-like segment is named "vocal peak" [13], "laugh pulse" [14], "note" [15], "laugh burst" [16], "call" [5], "syllabic vocalization" [17], "syllable" [15], "plosive" [18] or "vowel" [5,19,20]. The span from one vowel-like element to the next is referred to as "interpulse interval" [14], "laugh event" [13], "call" [5] or a "laugh syllable" [21]. ...
... Trouvain [12] points out that there is an extreme heterogeneous terminology to denote units and sub-units of laughter. At the lowest level, the vowel-like segment is named "vocal peak" [13], "laugh pulse" [14], "note" [15], "laugh burst" [16], "call" [5], "syllabic vocalization" [17], "syllable" [15], "plosive" [18] or "vowel" [5,19,20]. The span from one vowel-like element to the next is referred to as "interpulse interval" [14], "laugh event" [13], "call" [5] or a "laugh syllable" [21]. ...
... Thus, an entire laugh can consist of several "bouts" separated by inhalation. The whole laugh is then called an "episode" [22,15,14], "laugh response" [16] or "laughing sound" [18]. The role of the inhalation phases often remains unclear, for instance whether this inhalation is part of the entire laugh. ...
... We build directly on their explication of incongruity in section 4. 13 Of course, tickling has a bodily aspect as well. But is not a mere reflex-the tickled person must not view the tickler as threatening, nor can one self-tickle (Provine 1993;Gervais & Wilson 2005). We will not have much to say about tickle-based laughter here, the neural circuitry which has been an object of some studies-see e.g., Szameitat et al. 2010 One could be tempted also to say that there is a contrast in (12) in that sneezing and hiccuping are involuntary. ...
... With respect to placement, one very influential view due to Provine (1993) has been that laughter always follows the laughable and only occurs between spoken utterances; Vettin & Todt (2004) offer a more nuanced account, but assume adjacency between laughter and laughable and exclude laughs that occur in the middle of or overlap with an utterance. Mazzocconi et al. (2020) demonstrate (for French and Chinese in the DUEL corpus and English in the BNC) that only 72% of laughs immediately follow their referents. ...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the import of laughter, has interested philosophers and literary scholars for millennia and, more recently, psychologists, biologists, neuroscientists, and linguists. However, the assumption has been that laughter lacks meaning akin to what words and phrases possess and that it does not contribute to the compositional construction of meaning. In this paper, we argue that, in fact, laughter (and other non-verbal social signals like smiling, sighing, frowning) has propositional content-it involves reference to external real world events, has stand alone meanings , and participates in semantic and pragmatic processes like repair, implicature, and irony. We show how to develop a formal semantic and pragmatic account of laughter embedded in a general theory of conversational interaction and emotional reasoning and show how to explain the wide, indeed in principle unbounded range of uses laughter exhibits. We show how our account can be extended to other non-verbal social signals like smiling, sighing, eye rolling, and frowning. Should laughter and its ilk be incorporated in the grammar? We suggest that they probably should be, if one assumes a conversationally-oriented view of grammar. But various open issues remain.
... Considering component variables, a greater variety of social interactions without perceived positive changes in the area may represent many opportunities to interact Other studies have reported that casual conversation with others induces laughter, 39 and that friendship plays an important role in subjective well-being, loneliness, anxiety and happiness. 40 41 Therefore, it can be deduced that one of the main reasons for the association between social interactions and the frequency of laughter is that an increase in meeting others with a greater variety of social interactions leads to more opportunities to laugh. ...
... Second, although laughter has been found to occur most frequently during casual conversations, 39 there are other activities that could lead to laughter, such as watching television. Of note, 72.3% of respondents, when asked 'When do you often laugh?', ...
Article
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Objective Several studies have reported that laughter is associated with health benefits. In addition, social interactions, such as social relationships, social participation and so forth, have shown the association with not only health but also individual emotion. In this study, we conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the association between variety of social interactions and the frequency of laughter. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Sampled from 30 municipalities in Japan. Participants Non-disabled Japanese men (n=11 439) and women (n=13 159) aged ≥65 years using data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study, which was conducted during October to December in 2013. Primary outcome measures Laughing almost every day by self-reported questionnaire. Results Poisson regression analysis with robust error variance was used to calculate prevalence ratios (PRs) for laughing almost every day according to each social relationship and its potential community-level environmental determinants. The prevalence of laughing almost every day tended to increase with increased variety in each social interaction after adjusting, instrumental activities of daily living, number of living together, working status, depression, self-reported economic status and residence year. Among men and women, multivariate-adjusted PRs (95% CIs) by comparing participants with the highest and lowest categories were 1.18 (1.04 to 1.35) and 1.16 (1.04 to 1.29) in positive life events; 1.26 (1.10 to 1.45) and 1.09 (0.96 to 1.24) in perceived positive changes in the area; 1.15 (1.04 to 1.28) and 1.17 (1.07 to 1.28) in social participations; 2.23 (1.57 to 3.16) and 1.47 (1.02 to 2.12) in social relationships and 1.25 (1.08 to 1.45) and 1.29 (1.15 to 1.45) in positive built environments. These associations were also preserved after the restriction of participants who were not in depression. Conclusions This study shows that a greater variety of each social relationships and the potential community-level environmental determinants are associated with higher frequencies of laughter in Japan.
... Researchers have long noted a form of voluntary laughter that lacks spontaneous laughter's acoustic and physiological features, occurs frequently during social interactions, and does not seem to convey or induce positive affect (e.g., Gervais & Wilson, 2005;Glenn, 2003;Grammer & Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1990;Provine, 1993;Shaw et al., 2013). It has been referred to as conversational laughter (Provine, 2001), polite laughter (Tanaka & Campbell, 2011), speechlaughter (Kohler, 2008, sexual interest laughter (Grammer & Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1990), and embarrassed laughter (Tanaka & Campbell, 2011). ...
... It has been referred to as conversational laughter (Provine, 2001), polite laughter (Tanaka & Campbell, 2011), speechlaughter (Kohler, 2008, sexual interest laughter (Grammer & Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1990), and embarrassed laughter (Tanaka & Campbell, 2011). During conversation, it typically occurs at the end of utterances (Provine, 1993) and involves short bouts of voiced, nasal, grunt-like (Tanaka & Campbell, 2011), or breathy bursts (Shaw et al., 2013). It sometimes involves a closed mouth (Kohler, 2008), aligning with the proposed closed-mouth smile of affiliation . ...
... Despite variations in cultural norms and across generations, the actual sounds of laughter are difficult to tell apart from one culture to the next (Gervais and Wilson, 2005). Laughter is also a highly social phenomenon (Chapman, 1973;Provine, 1993;Addyman and Addyman, 2013). Surprisingly few experiments have been conducted on the social dimensions of laughter in young children and how this relates to their responses to humor. ...
... During conversation, laughter seems to be synchronized into the speech stream in an orderly manner, a phenomenon known as the punctuation effect. Through covertly observing human interaction in a variety of everyday settings such as shopping malls, restaurants or bars, Provine (1993) recorded the amount of laughter in natural interactions. Rather than the expected results of the audience laughing more than the speaker, the opposite was true; laughter amongst the speakers being on average 46% higher than that of the audience. ...
Article
Full-text available
Surprisingly little is known about the social dimensions of laughter in preschool children. We studied children’s responses to amusing video clips in the presence or absence of peers. The sample consisted of 9 boys and 11 girls aged 31–49 months (M 39.8, SD 4.2) who watched three cartoons under three different conditions: individually, in pairs, or in groups of 6 or 8. The social viewing conditions showed significantly higher numbers of laughs and smiles than the individual viewing condition. On average children laughed eight times as much in company as on their own and smiled almost three times as much. No differences were found between pairs and groups, and no association was found between subjective funniness ratings and group size. This suggests that the presence of even a single social partner can change behavior in response to humorous material. It supports the idea that laughter and smiles are primarily flexible social signals rather than reflexive responses to humor.
... 16 17 Laughter is reported to occur most frequently during casual conversation. 18 Surprise is an important element in humour because laughter usually occurs when one encounters a meaningful interpretation of strengths and limitations of this study ► This is the first study to investigate relationships among equivalised income and frequency of laughter, and to examine the impact of social relationship-related factors on this association. ► The present study design was cross-sectional, and thus we cannot demonstrate causal relationships. ...
... 35 Laughter has been found to occur most frequently during casual conversation. 18 Coming into contact with others is considered to be important to subjective well-being. 36 Thus, it is possible that wealthier people laugh more frequently because they have more opportunities to meet others. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Laughter has a positive and quantifiable effect on certain aspects of health, and previous studies have suggested that income influences the emotion. However, it is unknown whether social relationship-related factors modify the association between equivalised income and laughter among older people. In the present study, we examined the relationship between equivalised income and the frequency of laughter. In addition, we examined the impact of social relationship-related factors on the association between equivalised income and frequency of laughter using a cross-sectional study design. Design Cross-sectional study and binomial regression analysis. Setting We sampled from 30 municipalities in Japan. Participants We examined 20 752 non-disabled Japanese individuals aged ≥65 years using data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study. Primary outcome Frequency of laughter. Results Laughter increased significantly with an increase in equivalent income (p for trend <0.0001). Prevalence ratios (PR) for laughing almost every day were calculated according to quartile equivalised income after adjusting for age, instrumental activities of daily living, depression, frequency of meeting friends, number of social groups and family structure. The results revealed that PRs in Q4 (men; ≥€24 420, women; ≥€21 154) were 1.21 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.30) among men and 1.14 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.20) among women, as compared with Q1 (men; <€12 041, women; <€9518), respectively. After excluding participants with depression, the association remained significant. In addition, we found inadequate social relationships and living alone were associated with a lower frequency of laughter. In comparison with the lowest equivalent income with meeting friends less frequently and living alone, the PRs of the highest equivalent income with meeting friends frequently and living with someone were higher, respectively. Conclusions The results revealed a significant relationship between equivalent income and the frequency of laughter. Social relationships and family structure were also associated with the frequency of laughter.
... Human laughter is characterized by a series of rapid bursts of vocal energy, often called bouts [2] that occur primarily in conversational interactions [3][4][5]. The initial burst is typically loudest with successive bursts often decaying in both frequency and amplitude [6]. ...
Article
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Theories of vocal signalling in humans typically only consider communication within the interactive group and ignore intergroup dynamics. Recent work has found that colaughter generated between pairs of people in conversation can afford accurate judgements of affiliation across widely disparate cultures, and the acoustic features that listeners use to make these judgements are linked to speaker arousal. But to what extent does colaughter inform third party listeners beyond other dynamic information between interlocutors such as overlapping talk? We presented listeners with short segments (1–3 s) of colaughter and simultaneous speech (i.e. cospeech) taken from natural conversations between established friends and newly acquainted strangers. Participants judged whether the pairs of interactants in the segments were friends or strangers. Colaughter afforded more accurate judgements of affiliation than did cospeech, despite cospeech being over twice in duration relative to colaughter on average. Sped-up versions of colaughter and cospeech (proxies of speaker arousal) did not improve accuracy for either identifying friends or strangers, but faster versions of both modes increased the likelihood of tokens being judged as being between friends. Overall, results are consistent with research showing that laughter is well suited to transmit rich information about social relationships to third party overhearers—a signal that works between, and not just within conversational groups.
... Laughter is the most studied of all vocalizations discussed here; however, the focus tends not to be on the group. Individual laughter is focused on due to it serving as a pervasive social signal in interpersonal interactions by punctuating speech and indicating speaking turn taking and transition (Provine, 1993;Gilmartin et al., 2013;Bonin et al., 2014;Scott et al., 2014). Individual laughter can indicate social intent through it being voiced and unvoiced (Bachorowski and Owren, 2001;Owren and Bachorowski, 2003) as well as communicating the different emotions of amusement, contempt, schadenfreude, and tickle (Szameitat et al., 2009(Szameitat et al., , 2011. ...
Article
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Raucous audience applause–cheering, laughter, and even booing by a passionately involved electorate marked the 2016 presidential debates from the start of the primary season. While the presence and intensity of these observable audience responses (OARs) can be expected from partisan primary debates, the amount of not just laughter, but also applause–cheering and booing during the first general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was unprecedented. Such norm-violating audience behavior raises questions concerning not just the presence, strength, and timing of these OAR, but also their influence on those watching on television, streaming video, or listening to radio. This report presents findings from three interconnected studies. Study 1 provides a baseline for analysis by systematically coding the studio audience response in terms of utterance type (laughter, applause–cheering, booing, and mixtures), when and how intensely it occurred, and in response to which candidate. Study 2 uses observational analysis of 362 undergraduate students at a large state university in the southern United States who watched the debate on seven different news networks in separate rooms and evaluated the candidates’ performance. Study 2 considered co-occurrence of OAR in the studio audience and in the field study rooms, finding laughter predominated and was more likely to co-occur than other OAR types. When standardized cumulative strength of room OAR was compared, findings suggest co-occurring OAR was stronger than that occurring solely in the field study rooms. Analysis of truncated data allowing for consideration of studio audience OAR intensity found that OAR intensity was not related to OAR type occurring in the field study rooms, but had a small effect on standardized cumulative strength. Study 3 considers the results of a continuous response measure (CRM) dial study in which 34 West Texas community members watched and rated the candidates during the first debate. Findings suggest that applause–cheering significantly influenced liking of the speaking candidate, whereas laughter did not. Further, response to applause–cheering was mediated by party identity, although not for laughter. Conclusions from these studies suggest laughter as being more stereotypic and likely to be mimicked whereas applause–cheering may be more socially contagious.
... Laughter is mainly a social behavior, predominantly occurring in conversations and social interactions as a signal of agreement and affection to establish and maintain social bonds. 10 It is usually caused by interaction with circumstances, emotions, and a sense of exhilaration and well-being. People are more likely to laugh when they are with others than alone, 11 emphasizing the role of social bonds within the individual's network and society. ...
Article
Aim: Currently, there is little evidence on the relationship between laughter and the risk of dementia, and since laughter is mainly a social behavior, we aimed to examine the association between various occasions for laughter and the risk of dementia in Japanese older adults. Methods: We draw upon 6-year follow-up data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study, including 12 165 independent older adults aged 65 years or over. Occasions for laughter were assessed using a questionnaire, while dementia was diagnosed using the standardized dementia scale of the long-term care insurance system in Japan. Cox proportional hazards models were estimated, yielding hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: The multivariable hazard ratio of dementia incidence for all participants in the groups for high versus low variety of occasions for laughter was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.72-0.98, P for trend <0.001). A greater variety of occasions for laughter was associated with a lower risk of dementia 0.78 (95% CI: 0.63-0.96, P for trend <0.001) among women, but was less pronounced for men, with significant associations only for the medium group. Laughing during conversations with friends, communicating with children or grandchildren, and listening to the radio were primarily associated with decreased risk. Conclusion: A greater variety of laughter occasions in individual and social settings was associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2022; ••: ••-••.
... Laughter is commonly misconceived as a unique reaction to humor, but humor plays at best a subordinate role in eliciting laughter (Provine and Fischer, 1989;Provine, 1993;Ruch et al., 2019). Rather, it can be conceived as a universally recognized non-verbal form of communication of positive emotions aimed at establishing and maintaining social bonds (Scott et al., 2014;Mazzocconi et al., 2020), and several lines of evidence support the social role of laughter. ...
Article
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Laughter and yawning can both occur spontaneously and are highly contagious forms of social behavior. When occurring contagiously, laughter and yawning are usually confounded with a social situation and it is difficult to determine to which degree the social situation or stimulus itself contribute to its contagion. While contagious yawning can be reliably elicited in lab when no other individuals are present, such studies are more sparse for laughter. Moreover, laughter and yawning are multimodal stimuli with both an auditory and a visual component: laughter is primarily characterized as a stereotyped vocalization whereas yawning is a predominantly visual signal and it is not known to which degree the visual and auditory modalities affect the contagion of laughter and yawning. We investigated how these two sensory modalities contribute to the contagion of laughter and yawning under controlled laboratory conditions in the absence of a social situation that might confound their contagion. Subjects were presented with naturally produced laughter and yawning in three sensory modalities (audio, visual, audiovisual), and we recorded their reaction to these stimuli. Contagious responses differed for laughter and yawning: overall, laughter elicited more contagious responses than yawning, albeit mostly smiling rather than overt laughter. While the audiovisual condition elicited most contagious responses overall, laughter was more contagious in the auditory modality, and yawning was more contagious in the visual modality. Furthermore, laughter became decreasingly contagious over time, while yawning remained steadily contagious. We discuss these results based on the ontogenetic and phylogenetic trajectories of laughter and yawning.
... Laughter is a prime example of such behaviour. We laugh in ways that "punctuate" our speech (Provine 1993), such as during conversational turns, or just after a particular utterance that might require additional signalling to accurately convey intent. This type of "conversational" laughter, which humans produce volitionally, sets human laughter apart from the more spontaneous play signals of other animals. ...
Article
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Until recently, human nonverbal vocalisations such as cries, laughs, screams, moans, and groans have received relatively little attention in the human behavioural sciences. Yet these vocal signals are ubiquitous in human social interactions across diverse cultures and may represent a missing link between relatively fixed nonhuman animal vocalisations and highly flexible human speech. Here, we review converging empirical evidence that the acoustic structure (“forms”) of these affective vocal sounds in humans reflect their evolved biological and social “functions”. Human nonverbal vocalisations thus largely parallel the form-function mapping found in the affective calls of other animals, such as play vocalisations, distress cries, and aggressive roars, pointing to a homologous nonverbal vocal communication system shared across mammals, including humans. We aim to illustrate how this form-function approach can provide a solid framework for making predictions, including about cross-species and cross-cultural universals or variations in the production and perception of nonverbal vocalisations. Despite preliminary evidence that key features of human vocalisations may indeed be universal and develop reliably across distinct cultures, including small-scale societies, we emphasise the important role of vocal control in their production among humans. Unlike most other terrestrial mammals including nonhuman primates, people can flexibly manipulate vocalisations, from conversational laughter and fake pleasure moans to exaggerated roar-like threat displays. We discuss how human vocalisations may thus represent the cradle of vocal control, a precursor of human speech articulation, providing important insight into the origins of speech. Finally, we describe how ground-breaking parametric synthesis technologies are now allowing researchers to create highly naturalistic, yet fully experimentally controlled vocal stimuli to directly test hypotheses about form and function in nonverbal vocalisations, opening the way for a new era of voice sciences.
... Most laughter takes places in conversations. Robert Provine [19] describes this as laughter punctuation. So, invite and create opportunities for laughter to punctuate peoples' day, whether in common dining areas, before or after meetings. ...
Preprint
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A pre-print of Chapter 5 in ‘Lead with a Sense of Humor’:
... The proportion of those who laugh almost every day was approximately 26% among people 65 years and older (27% of the total population) in the status were similar, the proportions of those who exercised once or more per week, and people with educational attainment ≥ 10 years were lower in this study population compared with previous studies. Nevertheless, the results of the study are consistent with those of previous cohort and observational studies, which have reported that women tended to laugh more frequently than men did [22,33,34]. We investigated relationships between the frequency of laughter and disaster-related, socioeconomic, and lifestyle Data are N (%) or mean (SD) SD standard deviation, K6 Kessler 6, PCL-S posttraumatic stress disorder checklist-stressor-specific version * P for trend factors among residents of evacuation zones aged 20 years and older. ...
Article
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Purpose: Although mental health problems such as depression after disasters have been reported, positive psychological factors after disasters have not been examined. Recently, the importance of positive affect to our health has been recognised. We therefore investigated the frequency of laughter and its related factors among residents of evacuation zones after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Methods: In a cross-sectional study on 52,320 participants aged 20 years and older who were included in the Fukushima Health Management Survey in Japan's fiscal year 2012, associations of the frequency of laughter with changes in lifestyle after the disaster, such as a changed work situation, the number of family members, and the number of address changes, and other sociodemographic, psychological, and lifestyle factors were examined using logistic regression analysis. The frequency of laughter was assessed using a single-item question: "How often do you laugh out loud?" Results: The proportion of those who laugh almost every day was 27.1%. Multivariable models adjusted for sociodemographic, psychological, and lifestyle factors demonstrated that an increase in the number of family members and fewer changes of address were significantly associated with a high frequency of laughter. Mental health, regular exercise, and participation in recreational activities were also associated with a high frequency of laughter. Conclusion: Changes in lifestyle factors after the disaster were associated with the frequency of laughter in the evacuation zone. Future longitudinal studies are needed to examine what factors can increase the frequency of laughter.
... Normalerweise lacht niemand laut für sich allein ohne einen Trigger von aussen. 80% unseres Lachens haben nichts mit Humor zu tun [1]. In allen Kul turen wird gelacht (Abb. 1 x): bei Überraschung, Er staunen, Unpässlichkeit, Peinlichkeit -nicht unbedingt, sogar eher seltener zum Vergnügen. ...
... Normalement, personne ne rit seul, sans facteur déclenchant externe. 80% de nos rires n'ont rien à voir avec l'humour [1]. Le rire est le propre de toutes les cultures ( fig. 1 x): par surprise, étonnement, indisposition, gêne -pas nécessairement, et même plus rarement par plaisir. ...
... The audio from conversations was saved in WAV format. All speech and nonspeech sounds (such as laughter) were manually labeled in Praat, an acoustic analysis program (30,31) by trained research assistants based on their own judgment of what constituted laughter (Supplementary Figure 1). ...
Article
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Perceiving another person's emotional expression often sparks a corresponding signal in the observer. Shared conversational laughter is a familiar example. Prior studies of shared laughter have made use of task-based functional neuroimaging. While these methods offer insight in a controlled setting, the ecological validity of such controlled tasks has limitations. Here, we investigate the neural correlates of shared laughter in patients with one of a variety of neurodegenerative disease syndromes (N = 75), including Alzheimer's disease (AD), behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), right and left temporal variants of semantic dementia (rtvFTD, svPPA), nonfluent/agrammatic primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA), corticobasal syndrome (CBS), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Patients were recorded in a brief unrehearsed conversation with a partner (e.g., a friend or family member). Laughter was manually labeled, and an automated system was used to assess the timing of that laughter relative to the partner's laughter. The probability of each participant with neurodegenerative disease laughing during or shortly after his or her partners' laughter was compared to differences in brain morphology using voxel-based morphometry, thresholded based on cluster size and a permutation method and including age, sex, magnet strength, disease-specific atrophy and total intracranial volumes as covariates. While no significant correlations were found at the critical T value, at a corrected voxelwise threshold of p < 0.005, a cluster in the left posterior cingulate gyrus demonstrated a trend at p = 0.08 (T = 4.54). Exploratory analysis with a voxelwise threshold of p = 0.001 also suggests involvement of the left precuneus (T = 3.91) and right fusiform gyrus (T = 3.86). The precuneus has been previously implicated in the detection of socially complex laughter, and the fusiform gyrus has a well-described role in the recognition and processing of others' emotional cues. This study is limited by a relatively small sample size given the number of covariates. While further investigation is needed, these results support our understanding of the neural underpinnings of shared conversational laughter.
... The nuanced demographic analyses of the classification brought forth the idea that, in addition to individual personality differences, there may be elements of socialization that impact the type of laughter individuals tend to display. For example, research suggests younger women tend to laugh more frequently than older women (Martin and Kuiper 2009) and observational studies show women laugh comparatively more than men no matter their audience (Provine 1993). Discussion of how and why laughter use may differ amongst groups can be supported and expanded with this more specific classification of the three types of laughter. ...
Article
This thesis seeks to improve the classification of laughter by uncovering its purpose in communication, identifiability, and acoustic features. Reviewing the existing literature, this paper identifies three main types of laughter: affiliative, de-escalative, and power. Consulting with research assistants, this paper then classifies 113 instances of laughter from 62 Congressional Committee meetings published on C-SPAN. The interrater classification agreement suggests individuals can identify and categorize the different types of laughter with context. Additionally, 14 participants were recruited to complete exercises designed to elicit archetypes of the three laughter categories. These study recordings, which included 124 laughter bouts, were analyzed for acoustic features (pitch (Hz), energy (dB), duration, and proportion of voiced laughter vs. silence). The audio analysis indicates acoustic features of laughter are not overall significantly different amongst the three categories and therefore suggests social context, including proximal language and visual cues, predominantly explains the identifiability of the laughter types.
... Timing parameters are not optimal as a means for inferring the referent of laughter given that significant time misalignment can occur between the laughter and the laughable, namely their lack of adjacency. Unfunniness: The proposal from (Provine, 1993) that laughter is not usually related to "humourous stimuli" is made by assuming what a laughter is about is what immediately precedes the laughter. As we have already pointed out, there is much freedom in the alignment between laughable and laughter, so a laugh can be about not the preceding utterance but the utterance before, or an upcoming utterance. ...
... There is often, but not always, an associated perceived pitch in the bursts, resulting from the fundamental frequency (F 0 ) of vocal-fold vibration regimes during glottal oscillatory cycles. Laughter production in normal conversation exhibits systematic features, including constrained vowel and loudness patterning, consistent affective properties, and a rule-governed relationship between laugh bursts and speech (Bryant, 2011;Provine, 1993Provine, , 2000Ruch & Ekman, 2001;Szameitat et al., 2009;Vettin & Todt, 2004). ...
Article
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Laughter is a nonverbal vocalization occurring in every known culture, ubiquitous across all forms of human social interaction. Here, we examined whether listeners around the world, irrespective of their own native language and culture, can distinguish between spontaneous laughter and volitional laughter—laugh types likely generated by different vocal-production systems. Using a set of 36 recorded laughs produced by female English speakers in tests involving 884 participants from 21 societies across six regions of the world, we asked listeners to determine whether each laugh was real or fake, and listeners differentiated between the two laugh types with an accuracy of 56% to 69%. Acoustic analysis revealed that sound features associated with arousal in vocal production predicted listeners’ judgments fairly uniformly across societies. These results demonstrate high consistency across cultures in laughter judgments, underscoring the potential importance of nonverbal vocal communicative phenomena in human affiliation and cooperation.
... En respuesta a esta cuestión, algunos autores han sugerido que la puntuación es la función primaria de los emoticones (Markman y Oshima, 2007), ya que estos se colocan al final de frases, enunciados y mensajes, y existe, además, la tendencia a omitir la puntuación final del enunciado cuando se insertan (Frehner, 2008). En esta misma línea, Provine et al. (2007) argumentan que el denominado «efecto de la puntuación» (Provine, 1993) se extiende a los emoticonos. El efecto de la puntuación se refiere a la tendencia en la lengua oral a colocar la risa en lugares de la cadena hablada asociados con pausas, límites de frases, y principios y finales de enunciados declarativos e interrogativos (Provine et al., 2007). ...
Article
La puntuación ha evolucionado a lo largo de la historia, no solo en cuanto al número de signos, sino también con respecto a su función de guía en la (re)presentación y el procesamiento del texto. El objetivo del presente artículo es discutir la pragmática de la puntuación en los principales modos de comunicación mediada por ordenador. Mi propuesta consiste en considerar que las nuevas formas escritas de interacción mediada por ordenador situadas en el polo de la inmediatez comunicativa han dado lugar a un particular sistema de puntuación metarrepresentativa que compite con los códigos de puntuación tanto retórico como gramatical.
... Such analysis is not available for the BNC: this is due to the absence of video data and the more impoverished annotations in that no exact timing of the onset and offset of laughs has been marked. Our data together with results from [42], [43] and [84], who found percentages of speech-laughter even higher than ours (respectively 50%, 60% and 58%), definitively refute the old hypothesis of laughter punctuating speech, occurring exclusively at phrase boundaries [153]. ...
... From this basic ambiguity that must be resolved for the utterance to be processed successfully, various interpretational effects can be further achieved as the result of contextual inference resulting in additional meanings like irony, mockery, doubt, but also agreement and affiliation. In terms of placement, in contrast to Provine (1993), who assumed that laughter is related to the immediately preceding utterance, here free alignment between laughter and its antecedent laughable is assumed, which, therefore, imposes more complex inferencing to resolve the laughter's antecedent, i.e., the laughable, as the latter cannot be derived simply by examining the sequential context (Mazzocconi, 2019: 194). ...
Article
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Previous experimental findings support the hypothesis that laughter and positive emotions are contagious in face-to-face and mediated communication. To test this hypothesis, we describe four experiments in which participants communicate via a chat tool that artificially adds or removes laughter (e.g. haha or lol ), without participants being aware of the manipulation. We found no evidence to support the contagion hypothesis. However, artificially exposing participants to more lol s decreased participants’ use of haha s but led to more involvement and improved task-performance. Similarly, artificially exposing participants to more haha s decreased use of haha but increased lexical alignment. We conclude that, even though the interventions have effects on coordination, they are incompatible with contagion as a primary explanatory mechanism. Instead, these results point to an interpretation that involves a more sophisticated view of dialogue mechanisms along the lines of Conversational Analysis and similar frameworks and we suggest directions for future research.
... On the other hand, non-Duchenne laughter has been described as "a learned facsimile of Duchenne laughter" used strategically, and thus functionally different from it (Gervais and Wilson, 2005:400). Such strategic laughter does not interrupt speech, but instead is used to "punctuate" statements (Provine, 1993). Evolutionarily, this type of laughter has been hypothesized to originate "in aggressive, nervous, or hierarchical contexts, functioning to signal, to appease, to manipulate, to deride, or to subvert" (Gervais and Wilson, 2005:418). ...
Thesis
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Evolutionarily, social living can confer both fitness benefits and costs. In order to reap the benefits—such as access to valued resources and protection—social animals often have to overcome the disruptive costs of conflict, aggression, and competition by maintaining social bonds. Within primatology, the label “reconciliation” as a conflict-resolution tactic was first employed in 1979 when de Waal and Roosmalen noticed that, in chimpanzees, former opponents were more likely to interact peacefully in the minutes that followed conflicts than at other times. Since then, systematic study of post-conflict affiliation compared to control periods has taken place in a wide range of species, but hardly at all in human adults. In this study, same-sex dyads of young adult friends participated in a standardized conflict procedure that included relaxation periods before and after an intense competition. From the procedure, video data was coded to quantify the duration of selected behaviors. Data for seven behaviors was analyzed to investigate the effect of condition (pre- or post-conflict), gender, and post-conflict status (winner or loser) on behavior durations. Results show an increase in anxiety-related behavior and in human affiliative behaviors—such as talking, laughing, and looking—in the post-conflict period. The results in this study signal that, immediately after conflicts, human adults naturally behave in ways that could smooth interaction and increase affiliation. This study provides concrete evidence for behavioral continuity between humans and other primates regarding an increase in both anxiety markers and species-specific forms of affiliation in the post-conflict context.
... Extract 7 of Corpus 2 shows that Reg smiles (at line 148). Other paralinguistic cues which signal this sincerity and the orientation of giving imperatives with good intentions include humor, laughter (Provine, 1993), and other emotional colorings to mellow down and mitigate the strong linguistic structures of imperatives, coupled with a strong preference of bald-on record strategy. ...
Article
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Imperatives are ubiquitous, and may be interesting to analyze when deployed by subordinates especially in an institutional talk such as faculty meetings. This present paper was built on our earlier paper, where it describes the pragmalinguistic structures of Tagalog imperatives and the local academic conditions that hastened the production of subordinate's imperatives for the chair of the meeting to do something. This present paper is distinct because it reports and describes the proofs of social inequality and collegiality invoked during the meeting. Five meetings formed the corpus of this study. Drawing on the interface of Critical Discourse Analysis and Conversation Analysis, results show that subordinate's imperatives are evidence of social inequality because of the subordinate's higher epistemic knowledge compared to the Chair of the meeting. The Chair wrestles with the subordinates through a number of exasperated prosodic and paralinguistic elements. Meanwhile, subordinate's imperatives are evidence of collegiality with the shift to positive prosodic, paralinguistic, and embodied cues of the Chair and the subordinate. Overall, the discourse of imperatives is a depiction of the sharing of members' power, knowledge, and other socio-pragmatic local academic conditions. There is also a push and pull of use and abuse of power and collegiality. Toward the end, we propose a longitudinal case to widen the scope and instances of imperatives.
... In contrast, spontaneous laughter can interrupt the speech production system and is thus not well-suited to operate during discourse . Volitional laughter is deployed strategically, in rule-governed ways around linguistic units (Provine 1993), and in a manner quite similar to how play vocalisations operate in nonhuman animals, such as managing turn-taking, inducing positive affect, and regulating the flow of play. For example, when using indirect language (e.g., verbal irony, parody, and other figurative devices) that relies heavily on inferential communication, laughter can help listeners understand speakers' actual communicative intentions (Bryant 2011;Bryant 2020a). ...
Article
Complex social play is well-documented across many animals. During play, animals often use signals that facilitate beneficial interactions and reduce potential costs, such as escalation to aggression. Although greater focus has been given to visual play signals, here we demonstrate that vocalisations constitute a widespread mode of play signalling across species. Our review indicates that vocal play signals are usually inconspicuous, although loud vocalisations, which suggest a broadcast function, are present in humans and some other species. Spontaneous laughter in humans shares acoustic and functional characteristics with play vocalisations across many species, but most notably with other great apes. Play vocalisations in primates and other mammals often include sounds of panting, supporting the theory that human laughter evolved from an auditory cue of laboured breathing during play. Human social complexity allowed laughter to evolve from a play-specific vocalisation into a sophisticated pragmatic signal that interacts with a large suite of other multimodal social behaviours in both intragroup and intergroup contexts. This review provides a foundation for detailed comparative analyses of play vocalisations across diverse taxa, which can shed light on the form and function of human laughter and, in turn, help us better understand the evolution of human social interaction.
... According to Keltner and Bonanno, the belief that laughter can have multiple meanings results from the confusion of Duchenne and non-Duchenne laughter. The latter, in their view, is unrelated to positive emotion and can express aggression or punctuate conversation (cf., Provine, 1993). While it is useful to distinguish between involuntary smiling and involuntary laughter, on the one hand, and their volitional, feigned counterparts on the other, this must be done on the basis of objective criteria such as facial expression, not on the basis of stimuli. ...
Book
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... Katsumi, Y., Kim, S., Sung, K., Dolcos, F., & Dolcos, S. (2017) found the effect of a handshake to be more positive in male-to-male interactions than in other gender dyads. People also tend to smile more to individuals of their own sex (Mehu, 2011) and to smile more when the speaker is male and the audience is female (Provine, 1993). With respect to sex differences within dyads, same-sex dyads (male-male or female-female as opposed to mixed-sex) have been found to show more eye-contact, smiling, and laughing in a reciprocal situation compared with a more formal, one-sided interview situation (McAdams, Jackson, & Kirshnit, 1984). ...
Article
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Although detailed descriptions of proper handshakes partly comprise many etiquette books, how a normal handshake can be described, its proper duration, and the consequences of violating handshake expectations remain empirically unexplored. This study measured the effect of temporal violations of the expected length of a handshake (less than three seconds according to previous studies) administered unobtrusively in a naturalistic experiment. We compared volunteer participants’ ( N = 34; 25 females; 9 males; M age = 23.76 years, SD = 6.85) nonverbal behavior before and after (a) a prolonged handshake (>3 seconds), (b) a normal length handshake (average length <3 seconds), and (c) a control encounter with no handshake. Frame-by-frame behavioral analyses revealed that, following a prolonged handshake (vs. a normal length or no handshake), participants showed less interactional enjoyment, as indicated by less laughing. They also showed evidence of anxiety and behavioral freezing, indicated by increased hands-on-hands movements, and they showed fewer hands-on-body movements. Normal length handshakes resulted in less subsequent smiling than did prolonged handshakes, but normal length handshakes were also followed by fewer hands-on-face movements than prolonged handshakes. No behavior changes were associated with the no-handshake control condition. We found no differences in participants’ level of empathy or state/trait anxiety related to these conditions. In summary, participants reacted behaviorally to temporal manipulations of handshakes, with relevant implications for interactions in interviews, business, educational, and social settings and for assisting patients with social skills difficulties.
... There is consistent empirical support for sex differences in the production of humor favoring men (Owren and Bachorowski 2003), and the desirability of humor production in men as reported by women, compared to the desirability of humor as produced by women as reported by men (Bressler et al. 2006;Hone et al. 2015;Lundy et al. 1998;Tornquist and Chiappe 2015). Furthermore, in observational studies, people laugh more in response to male speakers than men laugh in response to female speakers (Mehu and Dunbar 2008;Provine 1993), and men are more likely to offer humor production to potential mates and women are more likely to request humor production in potential mates in online dating profiles (Wilbur and Campbell 2011). Evolutionary accounts of sex differences have explored several possible explanations for these sex differences, including humor as an honest signal of men's intelligence (Bressler et al. 2006), and laughter serving as an honest signal of romantic interest (Li et al. 2009). ...
Article
To account for sex differences in the production, receptivity, and preference for humor in potential mates during courtship, past research has often adopted an evolutionary approach. The present manuscript will attempt to integrate evolutionary explanations with proximal social and cultural influences using the traditional sexual script and ambivalent sexism theory. The results of both Study 1 ( N =227) and Study 2 ( N =424) suggest that trait masculinity is positively associated with humor production in courtship, while trait femininity is associated with humor receptivity. Study 1 indicated that the traditional flirting style was associated with less humor production by women, and Study 2 indicated that hostile sexism was related to a lower preference for a humor-producing potential partner by men. A sex difference in humor production in potential partners in Study 2 was no longer detectable once trait gender and hostile sexism was accounted for. Taken together, gender roles, over and above biological sex, influence one’s own humor use in courtship and preference for humor in potential partners.
... Such analysis is not available for the BNC: this is due to the absence of video data and the more impoverished annotations in that no exact timing of the onset and offset of laughs has been marked. Our data together with results from [42], [43] and [84], who found percentages of speech-laughter even higher than ours (respectively 50%, 60% and 58%), definitively refute the old hypothesis of laughter punctuating speech, occurring exclusively at phrase boundaries [153]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Laughter is a crucial signal for communication and managing interactions. Until now no consensual approach has emerged for classifying laughter. We propose a new framework for laughter analysis and classification, based on the pivotal assumption that laughter has propositional content. We propose an annotation scheme to classify the pragmatic functions of laughter taking into account the form, the laughable, the social, situational, and linguistic context. We apply the framework and taxonomy proposed in a multilingual corpus study (French, Mandarin Chinese and English), involving a variety of situational contexts. Our results give rise to novel generalizations about the range of meanings laughter exhibits, the placement of the laughable, and how placement and arousal relate to the functions of laughter. We have tested and refuted the validity of the commonly accepted assumption that laughter directly follows its laughable. In the concluding section, we discuss the implications our work has for spoken dialogue systems. We stress that laughter integration in spoken dialogue systems is not only crucial for emotional and affective computing aspects, but also for aspects related to natural language understanding and pragmatic reasoning. We formulate the emergent computational challenges for incorporating laughter in spoken dialogue systems.
... As a play signal, laughter conveys harmless intentions (much like smiles) and helps initiate and prolong play by signaling the nonseriousness of the play behaviors (Pellis & Pellis, 1996) and influencing the affective state of the recipient (Owren & Bachorowski, 2003). Humans use laughter, like smiles, to negotiate a wide variety of situations and motivational states beyond prototypical playfulness (Glenn, 2003;Mehu & Dunbar, 2008a;Provine, 1993), including criticism (Clayman, 1992;Grammer & Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1990), teasing (Arminen & Halonen, 2007;Oveis et al., 2016), and tension reduction (Shaw et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Laughter and smiles co-occur and accomplish similar communicative tasks. Certain smiles and laughter elicit positive affect in the sender and the recipient, serving as social rewards. Other smiles and laughter lack this positivity but retain a message of harmlessness and affiliation that lubricates the interaction. And finally, some smiles and laughter convey disapproval or dominance in a less serious way than more overt displays (e.g., frowns). But work on the social functions of smiles and laughter has progressed independently. We ask whether smiles and laughter are judged as more alike if they are high on the same social functional dimensions. First, online participants’ (N = 244) judged the similarity of a set of validated reward, affiliation, and dominance smiles to each other, resulting in a 2-dimensional semantic smile space. Then we inserted laughter clips (rated on the social functional dimensions in prior work) into the semantic smile space using new participants’ (N = 1089) responses on a smile-laughter similarity task. The laugh samples grouped in the smile space according to their previously determined social function, suggesting participants’ judgments about smile-laughter similarity were partly guided by the reward, affiliation, and dominance values of the displays. Trial-level analyses indicate reward and affiliation smiles were most likely to be matched to reward and affiliation laughs, respectively, but dominance displays were more complicated. This suggests perceivers judge the meaning of smiles and laughs along reward, affiliation, and dominance dimensions even without verbal prompts. It also deepens our understanding of the functional overlap of smiles and laughter.
Chapter
This chapter provides a short and necessarily rough account of some basic principles of linguistics, especially of linguistic structure, contrasting them with the basic principles of paralinguistics. Suprasegmental parameters such as voice quality and pitch can often be employed for indicating paralinguistic functions because their functional load within the linguistic system is low. Moreover, as far as the lexicon is concerned, the language user is free to choose amongst a multitude of words; thus, the choice of words and word classes can indicate paralinguistic functions as well. The chapter deals with such elements and parameters, thereby covering distinctions ?beyond the linguistic code, and addresses exemplary phonetic phenomena, and then linguistic phenomena. It also deals with deviations from the ?correct? linguistic code (disfluencies), and with phenomena external to the linguistic code, namely non-verbal, vocal events. The form of all these phenomena can ? but need not ? indicate some paralinguistic function.
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A statement on how the state-of-the-art in the field of Intelligent Audio Analysis was advanced more recently is provided at first. Based upon this, a distilled ’best practice’ recommendation is given to the reader. This includes aspects of high realism, standardised, multi-faceted and machine-aided data collection, source separation, feature brute-forcing, temporal evolution modelling, coupling of tasks, and standardisation. Then, a critical discussion is led on missing aspects and remaining research steps. Considerations in this direction comprise the request for more robustness, blind separation and multi-task processing of real-life streams, massive weakly supervised and evolutionary learning, closure of the gap between analysis and synthesis, cross-cultural and cross-lingual widening, novel tasks, further unification and transfer of methods, confidence measures, distributed processing, and new competitive research challenges.
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In this paper, after introducing the different theories of laughter, we defend that basic laughter (that one without a social function) has incongruity as its necessary, though not sufficient, element. Besides, we propose the joke (made primarily to provoke laughter) as a hermeneutic paradigm of understanding that provides a new view of a state of affairs, and breaks with what should be naturally expected from the course of the narrative. Even though there is a series of possible interpretations, only one is the right one, and that is the one that makes the joke a joke.
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In diesem Kapitel sollen ausgewählte Mittel der verbalen Kommunikation vorgestellt werden. Im Einzelnen sollen Zuhören, Fragen stellen, Erklären sowie Lachen und Humor näher betrachtet werden.
Article
Background We performed an observational study of laughter during seminaturalistic conversations between patients with dementia and familial caregivers. Patients were diagnosed with (1) behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), (2) right temporal variant frontotemporal dementia (rtFTD), (3) semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), (4) non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA) or (5) early onset Alzheimer’s disease (eoAD). We hypothesised that those with bvFTD would laugh less in response to their own speech than other dementia groups or controls, while those with rtFTD would laugh less regardless of who was speaking. Methods Patients with bvFTD (n=39), svPPA (n=19), rtFTD (n=14), nfvPPA (n=16), eoAD (n=17) and healthy controls (n=156) were recorded (video and audio) while discussing a problem in their relationship with a healthy control companion. Using the audio track only, laughs were identified by trained coders and then further classed by an automated algorithm as occurring during or shortly after the participant’s own vocalisation ('self' context) or during or shortly after the partner’s vocalisation ('partner' context). Results Individuals with bvFTD, eoAD or rtFTD laughed less across both contexts of self and partner than the other groups. Those with bvFTD laughed less relative to their own speech comparedwith healthy controls. Those with nfvPPA laughed more in the partner context compared with healthy controls. Conclusions Laughter in response to one’s own vocalisations or those of a conversational partner may be a clinically useful measure in dementia diagnosis.
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Evaluated the laugh- and/or smile-evoking potency of laughter by observing responses of 128 undergraduates to laugh stimuli produced by a "laugh box." Ss recorded whether they laughed and/or smiled during each of 10 trials, each of which consisted of an 18-sec sample of laughter. Most Ss laughed and smiled in response to the 1st presentation of laughter. However, by the 10th trial, few Ss laughed and/or smiled, and most found the stimulus obnoxious. Results confirm that laughter itself evokes laughter, perhaps by activating a laughter-specific auditory-feature detector. This result is relevant to the neurological basis of social communication, human ethology, and theories of speech production and perception. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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When strangers of the opposite-sex meet for the first time, both sexes are in a difficult situation. In this high risk situation, neither person knows the intention of the other, and consequently non-verbal signalling becomes the major channel for communication. Because of their higher biological risk, females should prefer less obvious tactics in order to communicate interest in a potential partner than males. The tactical task of signalling clearly, but at the same time subtly, is solved by the use of multifunctional or metacommunicative signals. In this study we propose that there is not one single meaning for any given signal. In laughing loudly we find a signal which consists of acoustical, mimical and postural information. In this way either laughter can send a this is play message or its meaning can be modified by other signals. Thus laughter, together with its accompanying body postures and movements, conveys messages that range from sexual solicitation to aversion, depending on which and how many different signals are present. Males seem to communicate interest for the female during laughter with only a few signals, such as body orientation and dominance signals. In contrast, females communicate interest via numerous signals which function as signals of bodily self-presentation and submission. In both sexes, a lack of interest is communicated through closed postures.
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Subjects imagined situations in which they reported enjoying themselves either alone or with others. Electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded bilaterally from regions overlying thezygomatic major muscles responsible for smiling. Controlling for equal rated happiness in the two conditions, subjects showed more smiling in high-sociality than low-sociality imagery. In confirming imaginary audience effects during imagery, these data corroborate hypotheses that solitary facial displays are mediated by the presence of imaginary interactants, and suggest caution in employing them as measures of felt emotion.
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Laughter is a common, species-typical human vocal act and auditory signal that is important in social discourse. In this first quantitative description of laughter, we identified stereotyped features of laugh-note structure, note duration (x̄ = 75 ms), internote interval (x̄ = 210–218 ms), and a decrescendo that contribute to laughter's characteristic sound. Laugh-notes and internote intervals have sufficient temporal symmetry and regularity to pass the reversal test; recordings of laughter sound laugh-like when played in reverse. The stereotypic, species-typical character of laughter facilitates the analysis of the neurobehavioral mechanisms of laugh detection and generation and the more general problems associated with the production, perception, and evolution of human auditory signals of which speech is a special case.
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The propabilities of laughing, smiling, or talking during a given hour and in various social environments were investigated by having undergraduate college students record their performance of these activitics in a log book during a one-week period. All three activities were least likely to occur during the hours immediately before bedtime and after waking and were most frequent in social situations. Smiles and laughs, like talking, were performed primarily during social encounters and were often part of verbal and nonverbal conversations. Because laughing and smiling are phasic social acts, they are of limited value as indices of ongoing (tonic) emotional state. The role of laughing, smiling, and talking in communication, the production of mood, and social bonding is considered.
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  • J. H. Goldstein
Talk and Social Organization
  • G. Jefferson
  • H. Sacks
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Humor: Its Origins and Development
  • P. E. McGhee
Natürlichkeit der Sprache und der Kultur
  • K. Grammer
  • I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt