Welcome to UnderstandingLaughter.Com!
My hope for this site is to provide both a source of information and a forum for the exchange of ideas.
Laughter and humor touch each of our lives and, in one sense, we can all claim to be experts of a sort. Yet to reach a more complete understanding requires some investigation on each of our parts. While a daunting task at first, you will eventually find that the study of laughter and humor inevitably leads to a greater appreciation of the human condition. They are subjects for which I’ve developed a real passion, one I hope to share with you in the weeks and months ahead.
These pages provide a fresh perspective on some age-old questions. I’m confident you’ll discover something new with each visit. And if they can help provide you with a few hearty laughs along the way, so much the better! To begin your quest, select the “Mutual Vulnerability Theory” link in the menu bar below the banner photo or click here.
There is a large and growing community of both professionals and interested laypersons eager to learn more about this fascinating subject…and to share what they already know with others. Unfortunately, we are scattered around the globe and money to attend both informal meetings and annual conferences is becoming more difficult than ever to find. This site will provide everyone (with internet access, of course) a chance to become an integral part of an ongoing conversation about laughter, humor, and the important role each plays in our lives.
I look forward to corresponding with many of you on the PROFESSIONAL FORUM page. You are the community for whom laughter and humor are more than just passing interests. People who:
- Specialize in understanding and modifying human behavior, including Psychologists, Educators, Psychiatrists, Negotiators, Counselors, and Day-care Workers
- Evaluate emotional states or personality types, such as Human Resources Managers, Crime Investigators, Medical Professionals, Prosecutors, and Social Workers
- Attempt to facilitate group loyalty, cooperation, and excellence such as Military Trainers, Business Leaders, Athletic Coaches, Public Relations Firms, and Advertisers
- Must maintain positive interpersonal relationships with important clients, like Lawyers, Customer Service Representatives, Medical Assistants, Consultants, and Agents
- Use humor as a means of providing income, including Writers, Comedians, Publishers and Editors, Cartoonists, Public Speakers, and Actors
Professional or not, this site is open to all. Anyone can submit questions and comments on the QUESTIONS/COMMENTS page. If I don’t have an answer for you, others almost surely will. To understand laughter and humor is an essential part of understanding of who we are as individuals and as members of the human family. I hope you’ll join me in that effort!
Please start by reading this…the ubiquitous Disclaimer…then enjoy poking around the rest of the site. If you find it worthwhile, send this web address to your friends and colleagues.
This Blog contains the opinions of its author, John Charles Simon, various guest contributors, and those who comment on their work. Each participant is responsible for keeping this site a place where ideas are exchanged in an atmosphere of mutual respect and transparency. Contributors/commentators should adhere to fair use provisions when citing copyrighted works and give credit where credit is due. The author accepts no responsibility for identifying or redacting copyrighted work submitted by others. The site’s administrators may withhold or remove any content deemed inflammatory or vulgar. This site is open to all, however parents are expected to supervise minors as some materials submitted may not be suitable for children or teens.
The Mutual Vulnerability Theory is offered as an alternative to existing laughter theories. Based on ideas first published in my 2008 book, Why We Laugh: A New Understanding, it provides a conceptual model to help explain why humans laugh. It does not present, nor is it the product of, original clinical or field research. Instead, it proposes a working hypothesis–a starting point from which such efforts might be advanced.
Every attempt has been made to credit ideas drawn from referenced sources. The reader should not, however, infer that any author, source, or humorist whose work is referenced or presented in this blog supports the theory or speculations espoused herein.
The purpose of this blog is to educate and entertain. It is not intended as a resource for the assessment, management, or treatment of any conflict or disorder.
John Charles Simon
What is laughter? Why do we laugh? What makes something funny? What is funny? Why is something humorous? What is humor? What is humour? Why is laughter contagious? Why does tickling produce laughter? Why can’t we tickle ourselves? What makes something amusing? What is amusement? What makes us laugh? Why are there differences in the laugh response? How does age affect our laugh response? How does personality affect our laugh response? How does mood affect our laugh response? What are the origins of laughter? How has laughter evolved as a behavior? Why is laughter associated with play? Why is laughter prompted by nervousness? Why do bullies use laughter as a weapon? Why do some jokes offend us?