Laughter: A Scientific Investigation (Anglais) Broché – 1 décembre 2001
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Présentation de l'éditeur
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 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.
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Dans ce livre(En savoir plus)
In laughter we emit sounds and express emotions that come from deep within our biologic being-grunts and cackles from our animal unconscious. Lire la première page
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Similarly, the reason you can't expect to laugh much from reading Provine's book is found in the book itself. Laughter is not something you can most reliably expect to do alone reading a book; it is something we do as a social behavior. Its "sociality," the ratio of social to solitary performance of the act, is very high. Provine had his undergraduate students keep logs of their behavior, including laughing, and found that we are thirty times more likely to laugh when with someone else. Another study showed that eye contact between two companions increases the likelihood of laughter. Laughter has a nonlinguistic role of holding people together.
Provine writes about many other curious studies, about the illnesses that can impair or propagate laughter, about the neurological explorations of the under-researched universal behavior of tickling, about the physiology of laughter and speech, about laugh epidemics that can paralyze schools, and about the Pentecostals that get "drunk in the Spirit" with laugh sessions. Wide-ranging and entertaining, _Laughter_ provides us with interesting studies on something we take for granted, and gives insight on just how hard doing such studies can be because of the commonness of the phenomenon involved. Provine wisely does not concentrate on wit, humor, or the meaning of things that influence us to laugh. It's laughter itself that is the subject, and given the nature of the theme, one comes away with even more admiration for the subtlety, cleverness, and capacity of the human mind.
The well referenced, very well written and approachable chapters span: introduction; philosophy and history; natural history; sound lab and opera; chimpanzee paleohumorology; ticklish relationships; contagious laughter and the brain; abnormal clinical laughter; health; and ten tips (find a friend, more is merrier, interpersonal contact, casual atmosphere, laugh-ready attitude, exploit contagious laughter, humorous materials, remove inhibitions, stage events, and tickle).
There are interesting clues about laughter and courtship (in 3745 lonely hearts adverts), and well as social/sexual rank in organizations and behavior in "laughter episodes"; as well as many other useful scientific, and sometimes counter-intuitive findings over a decade of `laughter research'.
Strengths include: the depth of fascinating historical, neuroscience, experimental, and contextual information; the superb approachable writing style; the fact that keenest intellects have theoretically grasped at defining the significance of laughter (from the ancient Greeks onwards); and the absolute relevance to almost all for this seemingly-peripheral neglected area of research work.
Certainly one of the best-written, supported, rigorous, entertaining and useful books that this reviewer has come across- and more useful that many `pop psychology' texts for understanding about the human condition, as well as laughter itself.
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