Benekes Doctrine Of Traces


BERGLER'S THEORY OF HUMOR AND LAUGHTER. The American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler (1899-1991) asserted that laughter is not an inborn instinct and, therefore, the term "sense of humor" is a misnomer. In his theoretical approach to humor and laughter, Bergler adopted a psychoanalytic perspective and advanced the notion that laughter has a highly complex and individual "case history" that is connected intimately with infantile fears which are perpetuated in the "fantastic severity" of the inner conscience of the superego. Bergler's theory of humor and laughter attempts to understand those phenomena within the framework of the superego and the all-important defense mechanism of "psychic masochism" that is based on oral regression created by the unconscious ego's attempt to escape the superego's tyranny or oppression. Bergler suggested that the irony of all studies on laughter lies in an apparent contradiction: on the one hand, laughter is concentrated, split-second euphoria, and, on the other hand, laughter consists of concentrated, interminable dysphoria. See also FREUD'S THEORY OF WIT/HUMOR; HUMOR, THEORIES OF. REFERENCE

Bergler, E. (1956). Laughter and the sense of humor. New York: Intercontinental Medical Book Corporation.

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