ERIC Number: ED222963
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Regularities in the Content of Statements "Said with a Laugh."
Cox, Martha Glenn
In everyday conversation, people sometimes laugh as they speak. A study was conducted to determine whether the content of statements occurring with laughter differed systematically from that of statements occurring without laughter. Tape recordings of 20 utterances taken from a conversation among a small group of college students were categorized by 40 adult subjects as (1) boasts, (2) challenges, (3) humorous, (4) emotionally laden, (5) supportive, (6) requests for information, (7) statements of information, and (8) observations about the group. Results indicated that there is no orderly pattern to when speaker laughter will occur. Specifically, utterances containing speaker laughter were most likely to be boasts, challenges, emotionally laden, and humorous. In considering why speaker laughter may accompany these kinds of statements, it should be noted that each category verges on violating conversational norms or boundaries. This leads to the speculation that speaker laughter may serve as a metacommunication signalling submissiveness and mitigating the potentially abrasive content of the utterance. (A transcript of the stimulus utterances is appended.) (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conversation; Laughter
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (Washington, DC, August 23-27, 1982).