Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

4-2016

Abstract

Laughter is a nonverbal vocal expression that often communicates positive affect and cooperative intent in humans. Temporally coincident laughter occurring within groups is a potentially rich cue of affiliation to overhearers. We examined listeners' judgments of affiliation based on brief, decontextualized instances of colaughter between either established friends or recently acquainted strangers. In a sample of 966 participants from 24 societies, people reliably distinguished friends from strangers with an accuracy of 53-67%. Acoustic analyses of the individual laughter segments revealed that, across cultures, listeners' judgments were consistently predicted by voicing dynamics, suggesting perceptual sensitivity to emotionally triggered spontaneous production. Colaughter affords rapid and accurate appraisals of affiliation that transcend cultural and linguistic boundaries, and may constitute a universal means of signaling cooperative relationships.

Keywords

laughter, cooperation, cross-cultural, signaling, vocalization

Discipline

Multicultural Psychology | Social Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Volume

113

Issue

17

First Page

4682

Last Page

4687

ISSN

1091-6490

Identifier

10.1073/pnas.1524993113

Publisher

National Academy of Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org./10.1073/pnas.1524993113

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