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Gelotophobia

  • By: René T. Proyer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Humor and laughter are typically studied in relation to positive outcome variables or to indicators of well-being. However, in recent times interest has grown in also considering aversive effects laughter may have. In case observations from clinical practice, a group of people with extreme fear of being laughed at and of appearing ridiculous has been identified. The term gelotophobia (gelos is Greek for “laughter,” phobia is Greek for “fear”) has been coined for describing the fear of being laughed at. While initial studies have been conducted in a clinical realm and gelotophobia has been seen as a clinical category (gelotophobic vs. non-gelotophobic), it is now defined as an individual differences variable at a subclinical level, using a dimension that ranges from no fear to ...

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