Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Evolution of Emotional CommunicationFrom Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Eckart Altenmüller, Sabine Schmidt, and Elke Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 January 2022

Understanding spontaneous human laughter: The role of voicing in inducing positive emotion

Understanding spontaneous human laughter: The role of voicing in inducing positive emotion

(p.175) Chapter 11 Understanding spontaneous human laughter: The role of voicing in inducing positive emotion
Evolution of Emotional Communication

Michael J. Owren

Michael Philipp

Eric Vanman

Niyati Trivedi

Allison Schulman

Jo-Anne Bachorowski

Oxford University Press

Available evidence indicates that human laughter can trigger emotion in listeners, particularly including positive affect. However, while listeners rate vowel-like, ‘voiced’ laughter as a positive event, noise-based, ‘unvoiced’ laughter recorded in the same, positive circumstances is not. Three experiments further examined listener reactions to laughter, including explicit rating of voiced versus unvoiced sounds, testing for unconscious, automatic evaluation, and recording responses in facial musculature, respectively. As before, only voiced laughter was rated positively. This outcome was furthermore mirrored both in automatic evaluations and in smiling-related, facial responses. The experiments thus show that positive, voiced laughter triggers true, corresponding emotion in listeners, but that positive, unvoiced laughter does not. The findings argue against viewing laughter as encoding laugher emotion, suggesting instead that listeners acquire emotional responses to these sounds through associative learning. Laughter may thus be understood as an evolved mechanism for influencing emotion and behavior in others.

Keywords:   evolution, emotion, voicing, associative learning, vocalization, affect induction

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .