Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation

HUMOR

International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Kuipers, Giselinde

4 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR increased in 2013: 0.419
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.602

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR): 0.326
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP): 0.684

ERIH category INT2

VolumeIssuePage

Issues

The laughter of the 1962 Tanganyika ‘laughter epidemic’

Citation Information: Humor – International Journal of Humor Research. Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 49–71, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: 10.1515/HUMOR.2007.003, March 2007

Publication History

Published Online:
2007-03-12

Abstract

The present article discusses the role of laughter in the much cited ‘laughter epidemic’ that occurred in Tanganyika in 1962. Despite its extraordinary nature, the veracity of the event is confirmed, crucially on the basis of similar reports. But most current representations are flawed by their exaggeration and misinterpretation of the role of laughter in the event, relating it to a humorous stimulus, a virus or environmental contaminant, or identifying it as contagious laughter. It is argued that the event is a motor-variant case of mass psychogenic illness of which laughter is one common symptom. Therefore it cannot serve as support for other arguments in humor research.

Keywords: Africa; Laughter; laughter epidemic; mass hysteria; mass psychogenic illness; Tanganyika

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.