Is this funny? Shared conversational laughter in schizophrenia

Schizophrenia patients have difficulty interacting with others and have difficulty perceiving and interpreting social cues from others such as those conveyed through verbal and nonverbal communication. In this context, laughter is a particularly interesting case as it is known to have many different forms and social functions, including as a marker of discomfort or awkwardness in social interaction. In multiparty interaction, shared laughter may also indicate coalition between the laughing parties, and be a signal of increased rapport. This talk addresses the themes of forms and affects of laughter as a marker of discomfort or coalition in patients’ interactions, through analysis of a corpus of patients’ triadic interactions involving patients with schizophrenia and unfamiliar healthy controls, who are unaware of patients’ diagnoses. Patient interactions did not differ from controls in terms of laughter production. However, a significant positive relationship between all forms of laughter (shared and individual) and interpersonal rapport was identified in control interactions. Although this relationship was not apparent in patients’ interactions, shared laughter was associated with better rapport scores in patients’ partners. Additionally, patients who were more symptomatic laughed less frequently, while their partners showed a trend for displaying more shared laughter, potentially indicating coalition formation, which excluded the patient.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
Book title:
On laughter conference
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