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It is debatable whether laughter is a reflexive response to something, or is a kind of communication.
The responses of certain kinds of humour being extremely diverse suggests that laughter can be:
Laughter may relate to our own vulnerability or of other people and could be a way to express this feeling vocally.
When one assumes that the other person’s status, position or respect is not deserving, or is misused, the expression of mutual vulnerability, that is laughter has a corrective effect.
When we laugh at someone, we signal that the person is not better than us or is not deserving of the status/position. This is known as ‘Lowering Laughter’.
If our own status or position is increased for some unjustifiable reason, we tend to laugh in a self-mocking manner, acting modestly. This is known as ‘Self-lowering laughter’.
Laughing when tickled is not reflexive and is mainly due to cognitive, emotional or social factors. There is often no tickle laughter when there is a scarcity of bonding, feeling or sensitivity.
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