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Laughter: A Scientific Investigation

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  102 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published July 1st 1999)
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Dec 12, 2011 Mellen rated it really liked it
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
Sep 02, 2014 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 2000. 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.

So ... for class ... 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
Peter Hung
Jan 04, 2016 Peter Hung rated it really liked it
A curiously interesting book, had a few giggles too. Some nice tales, lots of facts, many references. Overall enjoyable read and unique as the topic is not that widely researched.
Jan 28, 2016 Pradnya rated it it was amazing
A very detailed account of the various aspects of laughter related issues.
Interesting ideas, and some very interesting facts (man is the only animal that laughs, really laughs...monkeys do something similar but it's not the same). 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.
Feb 04, 2011 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.
Charlie George
Oct 28, 2008 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.
Sep 17, 2011 Devorah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-history, humor
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, 2008 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!" "hahaha!"). (read: laughter just as much a social signal as involuntary response to funny stuff.)
Jun 22, 2010 Justin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: clowns
although I read this in hardback from the library I acquired it for all the references.
useful for clowns, public speakers, and laughter yoga leaders.
I'm going through with a highlighter and loving it even more the second time!
Ludo Buret
Aug 16, 2009 Ludo Buret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Laughter, is no joke matter. 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!" Joseph Ledoux, author of The Emotional Brain
Jun 16, 2013 StephTKO rated it liked it
While I generally enjoyed the explanation of the laughter related studies, statistics, anecdotes, theories, etc., the author's writing style was tiresome.
Feb 13, 2013 Jacob rated it liked it
Most interesting stuff was in the first few chapters (discussion of language, physiological reasons for laughter etc.)
Nov 04, 2012 Carrie rated it it was ok
Very analytical and academic, somewhat dry (oh, irony).
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