Laughter in cooperative and competitive settings

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This exploratory study investigates the extent to which social context influences the frequency of laughter. Fifty dyads of strangers played two simple laughter-inducing games. In a within-subjects design, we manipulated the setting in which the games were played. In the cooperative setting, the two participants worked together to earn money as a team and in the competitive setting, they competed against each other. We examined the frequency of laughs produced in cooperative and competitive settings. The analysis revealed a cross-over interaction between the setting and the type of the game that participants played. During a general knowledge quiz, participants tended to laugh more in the cooperative than in the competitive setting. However, the opposite was true when participants were asked to find a specific number of poker chips under time pressure. During this task participants laughed more in the competitive than in the cooperative setting. Together, the results highlight the flexibility of laughter as an interaction signal and illustrate the challenges of studying laughter in naturalistic settings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the LREC 2022 workshop on Smiling and Laughter across Contexts and the Life-span (SmiLa 2022)
EditorsChiara Mazzocconi, Kevin El Haddad, Catherine Pelachaud, Gary McKeown
PublisherEuropean Language Resources Association
ISBN (Electronic)9791095546979
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2022
EventLanguage Resources and Evaluation Conference - Palais du Pharo, Marseille, France
Duration: 20 Jun 202225 Jun 2022
Conference number: 13


ConferenceLanguage Resources and Evaluation Conference
Abbreviated titleLREC 2022
Internet address

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