Ranschburg Inhibitioneffect

See INHIBITION, LAWS OF.

RAPID-CHANGE THEORY. See GESTALT THEORY/LAWS.

RAPP'S THEORY OF THE ORIGINS OF LAUGHTER/HUMOR. The American historian/classics educator Albert Rapp (1899- ?) proposed that the notions of ridicule, release, and communication were at the heart of laughter in early/primitive human beings. Rapp's theory of laughter regarding primitive humans indicates that laughter in the form of ridicule was probably directed at other persons at an earlier time than was laughter arising from riddles, puns, or jokes. Thus, the derisive type of laughter in the ridicule of other persons preceded the more humane and genial laughter more characteristic in modern times. According to Rapp's theory, in earliest times when a person saw for the first time some other individual who was crippled, ugly, or malformed in some way, the more "normal" person - for some inexplicable reason - burst out into laughter. It is speculated that the laughter of ridicule may be based on a perception of superiority in oneself, or it may derive from the observation of a mistake or deformity that is not productive of pain or harm to others. Concerning the notion of "release" in Rapp's theory, it is hypothesized, further, that the ideas of "relaxation" and "liberty" may be at the foundation of the first laugh of primitive humans. In terms of interpersonal relations, according to Rapp's theory, laughter is a means of communication among the earliest/primitive humans. Rapp's theory of the origins of laughter/humor contains the following logical sequence: the first laugh of primitive humans was like the triumphant beast's victory roar over another beast in a competitive battle, then the "sudden glory" at the perception of one's superiority over an antagonist, next in the sequence is the triumph over social restraint and, finally, via jokes and riddles, the more civilized triumph in an artificial contest deliberately staged for its accompanying relaxation. See also EASTMAN'S THEORY OF LAUGHTER; HOBBES' THEORY OF HUMOR/LAUGHTER; HUMOR, THEORIES OF; SOCIAL COMMUNICATION THEORY OF LAUGHTER; THERAPEUTIC THEORY OF LAUGHTER/HUMOR.

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