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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Apr 26;113(17):4682-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1524993113. Epub 2016 Apr 11.

Detecting affiliation in colaughter across 24 societies.

Author information

1
Department of Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095; UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095; gabryant@ucla.edu.
2
UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095; Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095;
3
Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark; Center for Semiotics, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark;
4
Department of Political Science and Government, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark;
5
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104;
6
Independent Scholar;
7
Department of Anthropology, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137;
8
Department of Psychology, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, San Miguel Lima, Lima 32, Peru;
9
Department of Interdisciplinary Study of Law, Private Law and Business Law, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium;
10
Department of Biology, University of Trnava, 918 43 Trnava, Slovakia;
11
Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria 0002, South Africa;
12
Department of Biology, University of Auckland, Aukland 1142, New Zealand;
13
Department of Sociology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China;
14
Department of Psychology, Karnatak University Dharwad, Karnataka 580003, India;
15
Department of Social Psychology, University of Tokyo, 7 Chome-3-1 Hongo, Tokyo, Japan;
16
Department of Psychology, Singapore Management University, 188065 Singapore;
17
Department of Biology, University of Trnava, 918 43 Trnava, Slovakia; Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, 845 06 Bratislava, Slovakia;
18
International Strategy & Marketing Section, University of Amsterdam, 1012 Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
19
Department of Psychology, Pusan National University, Pusan 609-735, Korea;
20
Department of Anthropology, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 07043;
21
Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, 78464 Konstanz, Germany; Department of Psychology, University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria;
22
Department of Behavioral Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, 5 Chome-8 Kita Jonshi, Japan;
23
Department of Product Innovation and Management, Delft University of Technology, 2628 Delft, The Netherlands;
24
Department of Philosophy, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, 75005 Paris, France;
25
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul 34440, Turkey;
26
Jakarta Field Station, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Jakarta 12930, Indonesia.

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:

cooperation; cross-cultural; laughter; signaling; vocalization

PMID:
27071114
PMCID:
PMC4855576
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1524993113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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