Laughter, a positive, contagious and heartwarming expression can be scary sometimes. This phenomenon is due to our fears, which stem from a misalignment in what we see and what our expectations were.
If laughter sounds sinister, out of context or out of tune with what is happening (like a person laughing while seeing people dying in an accident) it sends a red flag to the mind, signalling that something is not right or that the person is not to be trusted.
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Both laughter and fear are states of high arousal, common during intense emotions. A scream and a laugh are closely related and use the same emotional energy.
If a laughing person isn’t supposed to be laughing, or if the laugh is coming from a non-person, like a robot or a doll, there is a creepiness to it. Example: Alexa, the home virtual assistant from Amazon, started laughing out of the blue in many homes, terrifying families.
Humour is a way to break through the tension barrier.
Research shows that humour is a fabulous tension breaker in the workplace. People who laugh in response to a conflict tend to shift from convergent thinking where they can see only one solution, to divergent thinking where multiple ideas are considered.
It is generally considered a positive emotion and is a vital social, emotional and cognitive function. It is a communal activity that encourages bonding, reduces any possible conflict, and eases stress and anxiety. Laughter can be classified in different types: