Greigs Theory Of Laughter

British humor researcher J. Y. T. Greig (1923/1969) proposed that study of the earliest laughter of infants leads to the conclusion that the essential element in situations provoking laughter is personal whereby one's laugh is a response within the "ill-coordinated" behavior or instinct of love. According to Greig's theory of laughter, laughter appears to arise when an obstruction of some kind is first encoun tered, and then suddenly is overcome. Laughter marks the escape of psycho-physical energy mobilized to meet the obstruction, but not actually required for that purpose and, therefore, for the moment, may be considered as "surplus." Greig asserts that love is a primary (and hate is a secondary) development issuing from laughter, and he attempts to trace this double strain in laughter from its simplest to its most complex manifestations - from the smile of the infant in its cradle to the highest and most ethereal forms of adult wit and humor. Greig's theory of laughter has been called both an "ambivalent/conflicting-emotions theory," and an "interrupted love-reaction theory." See also HUMOR, THEORIES OF; LOVE, THEORIES OF; McDOU-GALL'S THEORY OF HUMOR. REFERENCE

Greig, J. Y. T. (1923/1969). The psychology of laughter and comedy. New York: Dodd-Mead/Cooper Square.


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