Eastmans Theory Of Laughter

The American author Max Eastman (18831969) was an enthusiastic proponent of the instinct notion of humor and incorporated this into his theory of laughter where "human laughter finds its canine equivalent in the wagging of the tail." According to Eastman's theory of laughter, laughter is a means of social communication or pleasure that has acquired a kind of identity in humans' nervous systems with a state of satisfaction or joy. In Eastman's instinct approach, the activities of play and playfulness are a "hereditary gift" that are more spontaneous and instinctive than they are deliberate or conscious. Also, in Eastman's theory of laughter, ancient or primitive humans' initial laughter may have involved a "fighting-glory-laughter" sequence (i.e., triumphing over adversity) in which a primitive hunter would act like a ferocious gorilla, gnashing its teeth and thumping its chest, and laughing - after overcoming a formidable human or subhuman foe in combat. Thus the first savage who cracked his enemy over the head with a rock or heavy stick and cried "ha, ha!" was probably the world's first humorist, and began what may be called the "merry ha! ha!" form of humor - presumably the oldest and most primitive form of humor or laughter (cf., Leacock, 1935, 1937). Although, apparently, there are not yet any formal scientific "laws" of humor extant in psychology, Eastman (1921) formally offers his "first eight laws of a code for serious joke-makers" (e.g., "the feelings aroused in the person who is expected to laugh must not be too strong and deep"); he also informally devises "four laws of humor" (e.g., "things can be funny only when we are in fun") which -according to Eastman (1937) - defines "all there is in the science of humor as seen from a distance." See also COMMUNICATION THEORY OF LAUGHTER; HUMOR, THEORIES OF; INSTINCT THEORY; RAPP'S THEORY OF THE ORIGINS OF LAUGHTER AND HUMOR; THERAPEUTIC THEORY OF LAUGHTER AND HUMOR. REFERENCES

York: Scribner's. Eastman, M. (1937). Enjoyment of laughter.

Kent, UK: Hamish Hamilton. Leacock, S. B. (1935). Humour: Its theory & technique. New York: Dodd, Mead.

Leacock, S. B. (1937). Humour and humanity. London: Butterworth.

Conquering Fear In The 21th Century

Conquering Fear In The 21th Century

The Ultimate Guide To Overcoming Fear And Getting Breakthroughs. Fear is without doubt among the strongest and most influential emotional responses we have, and it may act as both a protective and destructive force depending upon the situation.

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