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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 13, 2009

The emotions of gelotophobes: Shameful, fearful, and joyless?

Tracey Platt and Willibald Ruch
From the journal


The present research examines the hypothesis that the fear of being laughed at is related to three emotions: shame, fear, and (low) joy. In two self-report studies the participants (N = 234, N = 102) filled in the GELOPH (Ruch and Titze, GELOPH〈46〉. Unpublished questionnaire, 1998) for the assessment of the level of gelotophobia and the Anchor Que question form (Ekman, Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life, Owl Books, 2007) measuring five parameters (latency, maximal intensity, duration, expression, and intensity during a typical week) of emotions. Across both studies gelotophobes reported that their maximal experience of shame was of a higher intensity and longer duration, also they reported experiencing shame more frequently during a typical week. Their maximal experience of happiness was less intense, and it took longer for these intense feeling to develop lasting for shorter periods of time. Gelotophobia was also positively related to intensity, duration, and intensity experienced during a typical week of fear. Among individuals with a higher prevalence of shame, compared to happiness, approximately 50% were gelotophobes. Gelotophobia is notably related to the interplay of three emotions fear, shame and the low disposition to happiness. This dynamic is a new, yet equally plausible explanation for the onset of gelotophobia.

Published Online: 2009-02-13
Published in Print: 2009-February

© 2009 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin

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