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Laughter: A Scientific Investigation
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141002255, Paperback)Is it really the best medicine? Neurobiologist Robert R. Provine discovered that no scientist had ever looked into the weird, uncontrollable, and very human phenomenon of laughter, so he started off on his own. Laughter: A Scientific Investigation is his warm and--of course--funny report on how and why we giggle and snort with such regularity. Basing his views on field research conducted in a broad array of social situations (laughter being notoriously difficult to evoke in the laboratory), Provine posits that we use it as a universal, preverbal means of communication. Though animal research is controversial, it suggests that apes establish and maintain relationships using laughlike behavior, so it could be the missing link between animal communication and true language. He also explores instances in which we seem to laugh our way into and out of social situations, and includes a list of tips for keeping the laughs flowing. The irony of the scientific community not taking laughter seriously isn't lost on Provine, and he takes every opportunity to remind his fellows that even the seemingly most trivial matters can hide the most profound truths. If that isn't funny, what is? --Rob Lightner
(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 23 Apr 2011 13:33:24 -0400)
"Whether overheard in a crowded restaurant, as punctuation to the intimate conversation of lovers, or as the noisy guffaws on a TV laugh track, laughter is a fundamental part of the texture of everyday life. It is so fundamental, in fact, that we tend to forget how strange - and how important - it is. Yet while laughter is one of the most common human behaviors, it has, until recently, escaped the scientific scrutiny that has dissected every other aspect of our characters." "For the past ten years, however, Dr. Robert Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has studied this complex and often puzzling phenomenon, and through his research has established himself as the world's leading expert on laughing. In Laughter he presents an erudite, wide-ranging, witty, and long-overdue exploration of a frequently surprising subject."--BOOK JACKET.
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