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Mirth

  • By: Rod A. Martin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Mirth refers to the unique positive emotion associated with humor. Alternative terms sometimes used in the research literature to refer to this emotion are amusement, exhilaration, and humor appreciation. Many theories of humor focus particularly on its cognitive aspects, but it is also important to recognize that humor is fundamentally an emotional phenomenon. Just as other emotions (e.g., joy, anger, fear) occur in response to specific types of cognitive appraisals of the environment, the emotion of mirth is evoked by a particular set of cognitive appraisals that we commonly refer to as humor. This entry discusses the elements that characterize mirth, the physiological responses associated with mirth, how mirth is displayed, and the possible motivational functions of mirth.

In addition to humor, the emotion of ...

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