B

BACK-PROPAGATION ALGORITHM MODEL. See PARALLEL DISTRIBUTED PROCESSING MODEL.

BACONIAN METHOD. See SKINNER'S DESCRIPTIVE BEHAVIOR AND OPERANT CONDITIONING THEORY.

BAER'S/VON BAER'S LAW. See RECAPITULATION, THEORY/LAW OF.

BAIN'S THEORY OF HUMOR AND LAUGHTER. The Scottish philosopher and psychologist Alexander Bain (1818-1903) elaborates on Thomas Hobbes' "sudden glory" humor theory in which one of the causes of laughter is the "triumph" over an enemy or a challenging or fatiguing task (e.g., after a period of intense activity and upon completing one's work, the person needs to "let off steam" via the spasmodic outburst of laughter; cf., Herbert Spencer's "overflow of nervous energy" humor theory). According to Bain, laughter becomes so intimately related to the pleasure aroused by "victory" that it has become a sign of pleasure in general and, for the same reason, a person may feel intense pain whenever he is made the target of ridicule. Bain maintained that the first causes of laughter are physical (such as acute pain, coldness, hysteria, or tickling), and among the mental causes of laughter are "animal spirits" or "hilarity" (such as an outburst of "liberty" after a period of restraint or restriction). As well as critiquing the humor theories of Aristotle and Hobbes, Bain provides criticism of humor theories that regard "incongruity" as the essential or sole element of the ludicrous (e.g., many situations exhibit incongruity, but do not provoke laughter). According to Bain's theory of humor/laughter, there are two elements in laughter: a feeling of "superiority" and a "sudden release" from constraint. Bain suggested, also, that the truly comic nature arises from a natural inability for expression of the serious, the solemn, or the dignified.

See also ARISTOTLE'S THEORY OF HUMOR; HOBBES' THEORY OF HUMOR AND LAUGHTER; HUMOR, THEORIES OF; SPENCER'S THEORY OF LAUGHTER AND HUMOR. REFERENCE

London: Longman.

BAIT-SHYNESS EFFECT. See GARCIA EFFECT.

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