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英语时差:笑是个社会信号?

所属教程:英语时差

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xijijun

2019年03月22日

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Don is anticipating a career in comedy, but Yael pretty well quashes his ambition. D: Ya?l, I've been thinking lately that maybe I should go into stand-up comedy.

Y: What on earth gave you that idea?

D: I've noticed that I seem to make a lot of people laugh, especially women. Sometimes all I have to say is "Hello." It's rather remarkable.

Y: Actually, it's rather ordinary. Laughter research has found that only a small percentage of laughter, less than 20%, is a sincere response to someone's humor. In fact, laughter is primarily a social signal, as opposed to an emotional outburst. People are thirty times more likely to laugh in a social situation than when they are alone. And other observations about laughter also imply it has a social function. For instance, there's "polite" laughter. How often have you found yourself laughing at someone's attempt at being funny in order to spare their feelings or make them feel good?

D: Wow. You've just described my relationship with my father. It hurts me how unfunny he is. I'm sure I'd be able to tell if people were faking their laughter at my jokes, though.

Y: Hmm. Well, Don, research has also found that women tend to laugh a good deal more than men. And male speakers tend to illicit more laughter than female speakers. Also, laughter may very well be a sign of power dynamics between people, signaling dominance and submission, acceptance and rejection. Certainly, that seems to be the case when someone is laughed at rather than with.

D: Thanks a lot, Yael. I think you've ruined my career in comedy, as well as laughter in general. You've explained the life out of it!

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