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Laugh, Laughter, Laughing

  • By: Wallace Chafe
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Humor and laughter are often associated. They occur together so often, in fact, that there is a natural tendency to regard them as manifestations of a single phenomenon. Their association, however, is far from complete. It is quite possible to experience humor without laughing and, conversely, laughter often occurs in situations that are devoid of humor. Described here are the ways laughter is produced, the ways different laughs can differ, the ways laughter can be superimposed on speaking, and relations between laughter, smiling, and breathing. Attention is then given to the question of why people laugh, both in the presence of humor and in its absence. There is mention of the role of laughter during conversations. Finally there is the question of whether nonhuman animals ...

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