Relations between tickling and humorous laughter: Preliminary support for the Darwin-Hecker hypothesis

Alan J. Fridlund, Jennifer M. Loftis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following hypotheses by Darwin and Hecker on the connection between tickling and humorous laughter, questionnaire data were collected from 100 college students regarding their reported ticklishness and tendencies to laugh and show responses ancillary to laughter. Ticklishness was related to propensities to: (a) giggle, (b) laugh, (c) smile, (d) piloerect, (e) blush, and (f) cry. These findings lend preliminary support for the Darwin-Hecker conjecture that reflexes underlying ticklishness mediate humor. We speculate on possible relations among tickling and humor, and reasons why people laugh and smile when they find things funny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1990

Keywords

  • Blushing
  • comedy
  • crying
  • facial expression
  • humor
  • laughter
  • piloerection
  • smile
  • tactile sensation
  • tickling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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