Conclusion

As may be evident from this overview, laughter and humor offer fertile ground for future investigation undertaken from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, including ethological, cognitive, linguistic, clinical, and neuroscience. In a recent review, Jaak Panksepp observed that incisive research in this area has only just begun and that substantive research remains meagre. Many basic questions remain, such as the occurrence and significance of laughter in play and other social contexts; the role of laughter and humor in courtship, mate choice, and relationship maintenance; what different kinds of laughter communicate and to whom; and the neural circuitry responsible for normal laughter and feelings of mirth and joy.

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