Navigation Links
Fear of being laughed at crosses cultural boundaries
Date:10/14/2009

Laughter is an emotional expression that is innate in human beings. This means laughing at others is also believed to be a universal phenomenon. However, the fear of being laughed at causes some people enormous problems in their social lives. This is known as gelotophobia, a disorder that affects people in all cultures alike.

What is the difference between a shy person and another who suffers from gelotophobia? One of the aims of a study published recently in the scientific journal Humor, which was led by a team from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, with the participation of researchers from 73 other countries, was to find out if there is a valid and reliable way of evaluating the fear of being laughed at within different cultures.

"People laugh at others for many different reasons", Victor Rubio, a psychologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid and one of the Spanish researchers taking part in the study, tells SINC.

"This causes an anxiety or fear response in the person affected, leading them to avoid situations in which such circumstances may arise, and this may even become a problem that impacts on their social life", explains the expert.

The lead authors of the research study commissioned 93 scientists to use a questionnaire (translated into 42 languages) on a sample of 22,610 people in order to find out whether they suffered from gelotophobia, which comes from the Greek gelos, 'laugh', and phobos, 'fear'.

"Our study makes it possible to draw a clear distinction between people who suffer from this phobia and those who do not, as well as showing the scale of cultural differences, which are so important in any possible psychological treatment", says Rubio.

Spain, inclined towards the insecurity pole

This phobia was discussed for the first time in Spain at the ninth International Summer School and Symposium on Humour and Laughter: Theory, Research and Applications, held at the University of Granada last summer.

According to the experts, people can be classified within two opposite poles involved in the fear of being laughed at the 'insecurity reaction' dimension (trying to hide one's lack of self-confidence from others, or believing that one is involuntarily funny) and 'avoidance reactions', whereby one avoids situations in which one has been laughed at, and the dimension of low-high tendencies to suspect that if others are laughing, they are laughing at you.

Although this phenomenon is shared by all cultures, the study shows there are certain differences. Countries such as Turkmenistan and Cambodia are represented within the first dimension of insecurity reactions, while people in Iraq, Egypt and Jordan are much more likely to avoid situations in which they have been laughed at. Spain is "slightly inclined towards the insecurity pole".

Another strange result is that people in Finland are the least likely to believe that if people laugh in their presence they are laughing at them (8.5%), while 80% of people in Thailand believe this to be the case.

Laughter is an emotional expression that is innate in human beings. This means laughing at others is also believed to be a universal phenomenon. However, the fear of being laughed at causes some people enormous problems in their social lives. This is known as gelotophobia, a disorder that affects people in all cultures alike.

What is the difference between a shy person and another who suffers from gelotophobia? One of the aims of a study published recently in the scientific journal Humor, which was led by a team from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, with the participation of researchers from 73 other countries, was to find out if there is a valid and reliable way of evaluating the fear of being laughed at within different cultures.

"People laugh at others for many different reasons", Victor Rubio, a psychologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid and one of the Spanish researchers taking part in the study, tells SINC.

"This causes an anxiety or fear response in the person affected, leading them to avoid situations in which such circumstances may arise, and this may even become a problem that impacts on their social life", explains the expert.

The lead authors of the research study commissioned 93 scientists to use a questionnaire (translated into 42 languages) on a sample of 22,610 people in order to find out whether they suffered from gelotophobia, which comes from the Greek gelos, 'laugh', and phobos, 'fear'.

"Our study makes it possible to draw a clear distinction between people who suffer from this phobia and those who do not, as well as showing the scale of cultural differences, which are so important in any possible psychological treatment", says Rubio.

Spain, inclined towards the insecurity pole

This phobia was discussed for the first time in Spain at the ninth International Summer School and Symposium on Humour and Laughter: Theory, Research and Applications, held at the University of Granada last summer.

According to the experts, people can be classified within two opposite poles involved in the fear of being laughed at the 'insecurity reaction' dimension (trying to hide one's lack of self-confidence from others, or believing that one is involuntarily funny) and 'avoidance reactions', whereby one avoids situations in which one has been laughed at, and the dimension of low-high tendencies to suspect that if others are laughing, they are laughing at you.

Although this phenomenon is shared by all cultures, the study shows there are certain differences. Countries such as Turkmenistan and Cambodia are represented within the first dimension of insecurity reactions, while people in Iraq, Egypt and Jordan are much more likely to avoid situations in which they have been laughed at. Spain is "slightly inclined towards the insecurity pole".

Another strange result is that people in Finland are the least likely to believe that if people laugh in their presence they are laughing at them (8.5%), while 80% of people in Thailand believe this to be the case.


'/>"/>

Contact: SINC
info@plataformasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev technology being developed for use in Jordan desalination plant
2. Now butterflies are also being counted in China, Australia and Israel
3. Scientists capture the first image of memories being made
4. Cancer: The cost of being smarter than chimps?
5. DNA-Prokids: Genetic identification against traffic in human beings
6. The importance of being helpful -- Cooperative cichlids boost their own reproductive success
7. Promising new drug being evaluated as possible treatment option for fragile X syndrome
8. Issues at intersection of climate change and health impact global well-being
9. Loneliness undermines health as well as mental well-being
10. Corporations can profit from being environmentally friendly
11. Body part by body part, Sumatran tigers are being sold into extinction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fear of being laughed at crosses cultural boundaries
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... March 22, 2016 ... Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, ... Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... to reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... DIEGO , June 24, 2016 ... more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has ... HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce ... cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: