Russian attitudes towards humour and laughter

Alyona Ivanova, Ekaterina Stefanenko, Sergey Enikolopov


Different phenomena related to humour and laughter, such as humour styles, gelotophobia, gelotophilia and katagelasticism, were investigated in a series of psychological studies in Russia. As far as the samples were rather heterogeneous in regard with age, gender, region of Russia, and included besides big cities also small towns and villages, the data allows to discuss not only psychological, but also a certain cultural perspective. It is concluded that self-defeating humour style plays an important role in the structure of Russian cultural attitude towards humour and laughter. The most adaptive affiliative humour style is highly connected with self-defeating and aggressive styles. Similar pattern was shown for humour and laughter perception: a fear of being laughed at paradoxically provokes active involvement into exchange of jokes. A comparison between the two Russian capitals and regional sample revealed more similarities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg with western data than with the regional Russian sample which is supposed to reflect more of traditional national character.


humour, laughter, humour styles, gelotophobia, Russian humour and laughter

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