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Smiling and Laughter: Expressive Patterns

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

Although smiling and laughter are universal, studying these phenomena is a highly complex process. Unpacking the expressive patterns involved in smiling and laughter helps researchers understand and measure the meaning of the expression being conveyed. For example, when Fredrick Redlich, Jacob Levine, and Theodore Sohler (1951) presented patients with cartoons, they were also interested in the nonverbal responses, which they coded while interacting or from video. Six responses (N = negative response, O = no response, s = halfsmile, S = full smile, C = chuckle, and L = laughter) were identified as important and constituted the “mirth spectrum.” Ordering them according to intensity of response, Edward Zigler, Jacob Levine, and Laurence Gould (1966) created the mirthresponse index. Occasionally, chuckle and negative responses were not ...

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