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The activity of laughing; the manifestation of mirth or joy, or, less commonly, sarcasm or scorn
Alternative medicine See Laughter club, Laughter therapy, Laughter yoga
Neurology Spasmodic and largely involuntary expirations often accompanied by inarticulate vocalisations, generally evoked by mirth
Physiology Laughter increases blood flow to the brain and activates neural networks—e.g., nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and amygdala. Functional MRI data suggests that the increase in blood flow to NAcc evoked by extreme humour is similar to that triggered by monetary gain or use of some addictive drugs; a key symptom of depression is the lack of a sense of reward from previously rewarding activities—e.g., humour
Psychiatry Laughter is regarded as the most effective coping skill for anxiety-panic disorders and may temporarily alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression


A series of inarticulate sounds produced as an expression of emotion, usually happiness or mirth. The role of humor and laughter in promoting a positive attitude and health and in preventing the progress of some diseases has been documented esp. when it is combined with proven medical therapies.

compulsive laughter

Laughter without cause, occurring in certain psychoses, esp. schizophrenia.

pathological laughter

Uncontrolled laughter (occasionally accompanied by, or alternating with, uncontrolled crying), caused by pseudobulbar lesions of the brain. These lesions may result from lacunar strokes, multiple sclerosis, anoxic brain injury, and other forms of brain injury.
References in periodicals archive ?
The book offers us new perspectives on Baudelaire and caricature, as well as a close analysis of his theory of laughter.
Like art, Renaissance comedy plodded on in the ancient theory of laughter as ridiculous, literally ridiculous for the correction of the venial or the ugly.
It begins by setting forth the problems in prior research that stem from construct fuzziness and atheoretical grounding and then presents Henri Bergson's theory of laughter as the basis of a taxonomy dividing comedy into four types -- verbal/physical and romantic/satiric.
Contemporary literary theorists such as Levin (1987) have gone back to Old and New Comedy to construct comic taxonomies, and have re-examined other traditional sources -- especially Bergson's theory of laughter (1900) -- to link classification schema with audience response effects.
There are also chapters on the comic arts and a penetrating analysis of Baudelaire's theory of laughter that considerably adds to our understanding of these works.
Most of the essays in this collection, whose central image of the lookingglass has analogies with Glasgow's theory of laughter, are dominated by the feeling that American society is determined to persecute all minorities, and especially those whose sexual tastes do not conform to the prejudices of the silent majority.

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