Why do we laugh? Laughter has surprisingly little to do with jokes and funny stories. It is an ancient, unconsciously controlled vocal relic that co-exists with modern speech—-a social, psychological and biological act which predates humor and is shared with our primate cousins, the great apes. With startling effect, laughter reveals why humans can talk and other apes cannot and leads to the discovery of the event essential for the evolution of human speech and language. Laughter is used as a powerful, uncensored probe into human social relationships, revealing that tickle is an important form of tactile communication, that women laugh more at men than vice-versa, that speakers laugh more than their audience, and that laughter is a social glue that draws group members into the fold. The first book to establish laughter as a topic of scientific worth, Laughter includes such esoterica as the history of holy laughter, operatic laughter, laugh records, laughing gas, canned laughter, and a description of the Tanganyikan laughter epidemic that immobilized an entire school district during
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Laughter by Robert R.
Do men and women laugh at the same things? Is laughter contagious? Has anyone ever really died laughing? Is laughing good for your health? Drawing upon ten years of research into this most common-yet complex and often puzzling-human phenomenon, Dr.
Robert Provine, the world's leading scientific expert on laughter, investigates such aspects of his subject as its evolution, its Do men and women laugh at the same things? Robert Provine, the world's leading scientific expert on laughter, investigates such aspects of his subject as its evolution, its role in social relationships, its contagiousness, its neural mechanisms, and its health benefits.
This is an erudite, wide-ranging, witty, and long-overdue exploration of a frequently surprising subject. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published December 1st by Penguin Books first published July 1st More Details Original Title.
Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Laughter , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation. Dec 11, Mellen rated it really liked it Shelves: readingmyunreadbooks. This book was very different from what I expected, which was an exploration of happiness and humor.
The author is a neurologist who explored both positive and negative aspects of laughter specifically. I learned a lot and found the book to be very interesting.
The most important thing that I learned is that laughter and other emotions are echoed by those around us and we have a greater influence on others than we realize. The author explains that laughter, humor, and especially tickling are topic This book was very different from what I expected, which was an exploration of happiness and humor.
The author explains that laughter, humor, and especially tickling are topics that have a very small set of research studies and that it is difficult to get funding for such studies. However, in the author's opinion these topics enlighten such vital questions as why humans can talk and chimpanzees cannot, and why walking on two legs allows both laughter and speech, and whether you can tickle your cat. An early chapter explains that people rarely laugh when alone, often laugh during conversation, women laugh more often then men, women laugh more often when they are conversing with men, and men seek out women who they can make laugh.
The author discusses the cultural implications of this, and certainly this information makes me much more self-conscious at parties. The author covers many disorders and their effects on laughter, such as autism, split brain, laugh epidemics, kuru the laughing death , masque manganique, Angelman disorder, epilepsy, ALS, schizophrenia, prefrontal lobotomy, Rett disorder, Williams disorder, Alzheimers, and brain tumors.
The end of the book explores whether 'laughter is the best medicine. Jan 20, Matthew Holder rated it it was ok. The idea for the book is way better than the book. Dec 18, Frederic Kerr rated it it was ok. For a supposed scientific investigation, this book is really superficial. We learn that laughter is social, contagious and healthy, but very little about why we laugh. There are chapters on tickling, African laughter epidemics and diseases that cause laughter-like symptoms, but no insight into the situations that create laughter.
Sep 24, lou rated it really liked it Shelves: laughterlife. Currently reading as research for a dynamic media project. More review of the book to follow. I've been reading it on and off since I picked it up in I'm a little less than half-way through now, but I'll have to back track and review some of the beginning chapters as a refresher. I'll be setting up my own taxonomy of laughter, mapping laughter to potential triggers in real life, deciphering when laughter is socially acceptable and when its not, investigating the concept Currently reading as research for a dynamic media project.
I'll be setting up my own taxonomy of laughter, mapping laughter to potential triggers in real life, deciphering when laughter is socially acceptable and when its not, investigating the concepts of projection and receipt of laughter [ laugh targeting ], create a mental map of laugh pathing [ laugh tracks ], and then eventually my project will most likely include audio triggering in a physical space, spotlights, a stool with a glass of water in some sort of vague stage-like space Too early to tell at this point.
For such a compelling subject, I unfortunately often found myself disinterested. There's an inordinate amount of attention dedicated to periphery topics, such as operas that have transcribed laughter, chimpanzees, bipedalism, and tickling. I was also troubled by the disregard for social gender bias in the findings about gender and laughter.
The few highlights can be found in the chapters on abnormal and contagious laughter. Oct 28, Charlie George rated it did not like it Shelves: science. This book got a bit of hype when it first came out. Scientific American liked it, NPR, etc. I never saw what the fuss was about. While it was competently written, I recall disagreeing with many of his hypotheses about the social context of laughter, which was disappointing and ultimately unsatisfying.
Jan 27, Cara rated it really liked it. Provine delves into all the aspects of laughter: how we developed laughter biologically, why some people laugh more than others in social situations, how laughter is noted in musical scores, various neurological disorders involving laughter, and all kinds of other stuff.
I thought it was a really interesting and sometimes even humorous read. Interesting ideas, and some very interesting facts man is the only animal that laughs, really laughs But all in all I kind of felt like this was a book written by a professor to show his students how to write up a research project. Maybe I just had trouble with the style. The content was very interesting. Finally a serious book about the funny side of life. Facts, theories, and even some tips about better living through laughter.
A joy to read! Jul 10, Justin rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: clowns. Shelves: clown-school , wellness. I'm going through with a highlighter and loving it even more the second time! This was a fascinating read and illuminates things we may have noticed but not understood. How laughter "works" physiologically, the difference between humor and laughter, giggling, how the sexes laugh differently, inappropriate laughter, and more.
Wonderful information. Jun 25, Emily rated it liked it Shelves: science. Somewhat tedious, but useful to read if you're doing research in humor. FYI: laughter more often follows non-funny statements than funny "see ya later! Aug 18, Carrie rated it it was ok.
Very analytical and academic, somewhat dry oh, irony. Feb 13, Jacob rated it liked it. Most interesting stuff was in the first few chapters discussion of language, physiological reasons for laughter etc. Jun 08, StephVT rated it liked it Shelves: library , nonfiction , science.
While I generally enjoyed the explanation of the laughter related studies, statistics, anecdotes, theories, etc. Jennifer rated it really liked it Jul 31, Rawan rated it it was ok Jul 14,
Laughter: A Scientific Investigation
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Robert Provine, an Authority on Laughter, Is Dead at 76
Laughter, his first book, takes the reader on an erudite, wide-ranging, witty, and long-overdue exploration of this intriguing and frequently surprising topic. Provine considers such aspects of laugher as its evolution; its role in social relationships; its relation to the unsconscious; "contagious laughter" and the neurobiological basis for the effectiveness of laugh tracks on TV shows; tickling; epidemics of laughter; gender differences in laughing; what laughter reveals about why chimpanzees can't talk. Among the many curious things we learn is that women laugh more at men than vice-cersa; that speakers laugh more than their audiences; that people tend to laugh after more commonplace statements like "See you later" than after actual jokes; that laughing after being tickled is more a social phenomenon than a natural reflex people can't tickle themselves into laughing ; and evidence that laughter can be beneficial to health, and has a natural analgesic effect that dulls pain. There is simply no other book that treats laughter from the viewpoint of science, and Laughter has the rare virtue of being as delightful as it is groundbreaking. Robert R.
Robert R. Laughter : A Scientific Investigation. Why do we laugh? Laughter has surprisingly little to do with jokes and funny stories. It is an ancient, unconsciously controlled vocal relic that co-exists with our relatively modern speech - a social, psychological and biological act which predates humour and is sharedwith our primate cousins, the great apes. In this book Robert Provine uses laughter as a powerful probe into human social relationships, revealing that tickling is a form of tactilecommunication, not a reflex; that women laugh more at men than vice-versa; that speakers laugh more than their audiences; and that laughter is mostly about relationships, not jokes.
Robert Provine was studying nerve cells for eight hours a day in a windowless lab when he made a keen observation that would alter his life, and the shape of social science: I am getting tired of this. He decided to study laughter instead, taking his methods out into the world and, through a series of studies and popular books, helping to create the modern science of humor. Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, died at 76 on Oct. His wife, Helen Weems, said the cause was complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Provine dug in, measuring the different sounds of laughter, its varying cadences and loudness, its presence in primates.