The different shades of laughter: when do we laugh and when do we mimic other's laughter?
AutorInnen: Mauersberger, Heidi; Kastendieck, Till; Hetmann, Annika; Schöll, Anja; Hess, Ursula Publikationsjahr: 2022
Laughter is an ambiguous phenomenon in response to both positive and negative events and a social signal that coordinates social interactions. We assessed (i) who laughs and why, and (ii) if the type of laughter and whether the observer approves of it impact on facial mimicry as a proxy for shared laughter. For this, 329 participants watched funny, schadenfreude and disgusting scenes and then saw individuals who purportedly reacted to each scene while participants' facial expressions were recorded and analysed. Participants laughed more in response to funny than in response to schadenfreude scenes and least in response to disgust scenes, and laughter within each scene could be explained both by situational perceptions of the scenes as well as by individual differences. Furthermore, others’ laughter in response to funny scenes was perceived as more appropriate, elicited more closeness and more laughter mimicry than others' laughter in response to schadenfreude and especially in response to disgust scenes. Appropriateness and closeness as well as individual differences could explain laughter mimicry within each scene. This is in line with the notion that laughter is not per se an affiliative signal and that different types of laughter have distinct social implications.doi: 10.1098/rstb.2021.0188 ISSN: 0962-8436