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Thread: Laughter and humor

  1. #1 Laughter and humor 
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    Freud in his introduction to his book 'Jokes and their relation to the unconscious' wrote:

    "Is the subject of jokes worth so much trouble? There can, I think, be no doubt of it. Leaving on one side the personal motives which make me wish to gain an insight into the problems of jokes and which will come to light during the course of these studies, I can appeal to the fact that there is an intimate connection between all mental happenings - a fact which guarantees that a psychological discovery even in a remote field will be of unpredictable value in other fields."

    I could not agree with him more, and although I disagree with some of his ideas on the subject, I found that by attempting to unravel the intricate relationship between laughter and the joke, I had to take many factors into consideration. These included ideas from neurology, psychology, physiology and behavior.

    For anyone who is interested in the topic, I have a long essay at:

    https://sites.google.com/site/basilh...ughterandhumor


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    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    Freud in his introduction to his book 'Jokes and their relation to the unconscious' wrote:
    I assume he was as wrong about that as everything else?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    Freud in his introduction to his book 'Jokes and their relation to the unconscious' wrote:
    I assume he was as wrong about that as everything else?
    Really, Freud was wrong about everything else? I thought he was right about the existence of our subconscious. However, I am not convinced our subconscious has much to do with our response to jokes, because I think we are aware of the reasoning the causes the laughter?

    BasilHugh,

    Sorry I am in a rush and can't fully read the essay at this time, but I want to say the notion of laughter being a vocal fight-or-flight displacement response is an interesting one worth contemplation. Am I correct to believe that only humans laugh? Does "getting the joke" require a cognitive process that other animals are not capable of? I am not sure this would have anything to do with the subconscious, unless every flight or fight response involves the subconscious. Now, perhaps that is so? Mart Twain commented that each of us reacts as we have been conditioned to react. Oh dear, I am going to have to do some thinking on this.
    Last edited by Rita; March 2nd, 2013 at 09:10 PM.
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    "We shall also be right in rejecting the term 'subconsciousness' as incorrect and misleading".
    Sigmund Freud, The Unconscious (1915)

    "If someone talks of subconsciousness, I cannot tell whether he means the term topographically – to indicate something lying in the mind beneath consciousness – or qualitatively – to indicate another consciousness, a subterranean one, as it were. He is probably not clear about any of it. The only trustworthy antithesis is between conscious and unconscious."
    Sigmund Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis (Vienna 1926; English translation 1927
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rita View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    Freud in his introduction to his book 'Jokes and their relation to the unconscious' wrote:
    I assume he was as wrong about that as everything else?
    Really, Freud was wrong about everything else? I thought he was right about the existence of our subconscious.
    I think Freud's approach to psychology was his major contribution, not necessarily his actual work.

    Granted, there has been evidence supporting some of his theories.
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    "Exapted vocal fight-or-flight displacement response."
    Larry Niven in Ringworld stated (through one of the characters in that novel) that laughter was an "interrupted defence mechanism", I read this some (good grief is it that long?) 30-35 years ago so your idea doesn't come as a surprise to me.
    Just downloaded your essay, but it's 3:30 AM here and time for bed.
    A leisurely Sunday read and a reply will follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    "We shall also be right in rejecting the term 'subconsciousness' as incorrect and misleading".
    Sigmund Freud, The Unconscious (1915)

    "If someone talks of subconsciousness, I cannot tell whether he means the term topographically – to indicate something lying in the mind beneath consciousness – or qualitatively – to indicate another consciousness, a subterranean one, as it were. He is probably not clear about any of it. The only trustworthy antithesis is between conscious and unconscious."
    Sigmund Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis (Vienna 1926; English translation 1927
    I can't speak on everything you present but humans are not the only species that laughs. Most primates do and so to many other vocal mammals. The laugh doesn't necessarily sound the same as a human's but it is still a physical, reflexive reaction to something that entertains the creature. I will try to find youtube videos of animals laughing. I had a dog that would laugh hysterically at times, usually when another pet in the house did something stupid, like fall off a ledge.

    Here is a good starting point. Laughter in animals. - wiki
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I think Freud's approach to psychology was his major contribution, not necessarily his actual work.
    Really? I always understood his approach was to make things up.

    I think it is only relatively recently that psychology started on the road to becoming a science. I don't know how many of the stories Freud made up will survive the journey.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    I can't speak on everything you present but humans are not the only species that laughs.
    Which makes crying a much more puzzling phenomenon.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Which makes crying a much more puzzling phenomenon.
    How so? Humans are not the only animal to cry, either. Even dogs, which are only very distantly related to us, do it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    I can't speak on everything you present but humans are not the only species that laughs.
    Which makes crying a much more puzzling phenomenon.
    Animals have emotions too. I don't know why our species tends to be obsessed with the idea that animals don't feel anything like we do. Maybe it feeds a superiority complex or something. But I am an animal lover and have spent a lot of time with animals. They certainly do feel. They may not display it the way we do but they feel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Which makes crying a much more puzzling phenomenon.
    Animals have emotions too. I don't know why our species tends to be obsessed with the idea that animals don't feel anything like we do.
    No, I didn't mean anything like that. Just that the water-coming-out-of-the-eyes thing is weird. It is unique to humans and seems such an odd reaction to strong emotion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    No, I didn't mean anything like that. Just that the water-coming-out-of-the-eyes thing is weird. It is unique to humans and seems such an odd reaction to strong emotion.
    It is weird... But, again, humans aren't the only animals that get watery eyes or shed tears. Where did you get the idea that is unique to humans?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    It is weird... But, again, humans aren't the only animals that get watery eyes or shed tears. Where did you get the idea that is unique to humans?
    I heard a bit of a radio program about it the other day. Of course many other animals have tears as purely functional things - keeping the cornea healthy, getting grit out of the eye, etc. Humans are the only ones who shed tears for emotional reasons. (They said.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Which makes crying a much more puzzling phenomenon.
    Animals have emotions too. I don't know why our species tends to be obsessed with the idea that animals don't feel anything like we do.
    No, I didn't mean anything like that. Just that the water-coming-out-of-the-eyes thing is weird. It is unique to humans and seems such an odd reaction to strong emotion.
    Every dog I ever had shed tears when whimpering. I can't find it now but I have seen many documentaries about elephants shedding tears, and I have seen horses and cows crying over the loss of a newborn offspring. I suspect sea mammals probably cry too, with tears, but since they are always wet, obviously we wouldn't be able to detect it if they do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I heard a bit of a radio program about it the other day. Of course many other animals have tears as purely functional things - keeping the cornea healthy, getting grit out of the eye, etc. Humans are the only ones who shed tears for emotional reasons. (They said.)
    Meh, all the great apes do it, and as I pointed out above, dogs do it when injured or grieving a lost loved one. S.G. pointed out that elephants cry- in fact, the Indian elephant is known especially for it when one of their herd dies. They cry over the body for several days of mourning, at times even and the African elephant can be as complex in the mourning process, including tears.

    It's very common to see constant claims that only humans shed tears of grief. This is possibly due to the "humans are special bias" and possibly because no one can ask an elephant, leaning over the body of a dead relative, why it's eyes suddenly started watering and the elephant seemed despondent.
    After-all, humans must be different since God created us special and separate from animals... We clearly don't have such traits from Evolution and could not share these characteristics with those that came before us because (Gasp) that might suggest we evolved from lower primitive dirty animals that are soulless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    It is weird... But, again, humans aren't the only animals that get watery eyes or shed tears. Where did you get the idea that is unique to humans?
    I heard a bit of a radio program about it the other day. Of course many other animals have tears as purely functional things - keeping the cornea healthy, getting grit out of the eye, etc. Humans are the only ones who shed tears for emotional reasons. (They said.)
    The only "They's" I have ever heard say things like that were people who had the intent to elevate our species over all others as proof of divine order.
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    Well, it was a BBC science program but who knows ...

    They did point out that very little research has been carried out on crying for both practical and ethical reasons.
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    Well, no sense crying about it...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Well, it was a BBC science program but who knows ...

    They did point out that very little research has been carried out on crying for both practical and ethical reasons.
    I used to think seeing something on a science program made it reliable but then I started participating in science forums and found out that just because the resource is one that supports science, that doesn't mean all its contributors are scientifically reliable.
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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    I don't know, I thought of my youngest granddaughter who cried the most and now laughs the most. It is interesting to think of this as her innate tendency for aggressiveness. If this is aggressiveness, why is it expressed in crying and laughing instead of more physically as a grandson expresses his aggressiveness by being very physical. This is a question of what mental switches are being turned on and off and why? I don't know if this is important to your question, but why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically? The very physical child has a very phony sounding laugh, as though he has learned we are suppose to laugh at some things, but does not actually feel the laughter. However, he will do this quite loudly and long, and it does appear oddly aggressive. Your question has me really thinking about these matters.

    Down the puns at the end of the essay, they are funny only if a person knows the meaning of the words, and the response to sexual humor can be distaste. I think this would make it extreme difficult to test our reaction to humor, because there may be too many variables to what we think is funny. On the other hand, I remember reading about a tribe of cannibals that laughed more spontaneously and this would indicate your theory is true.

    Hum, if your theory is true, perhaps we could reduce school violence by teaching humor? Like you might onto something that is very important.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Well, no sense crying about it...
    Now that is funny. I can immediately identify with the sense of futility and since the question has been asked, feel the displacement to laughter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    I can appeal to the fact that there is an intimate connection between all mental happenings - a fact which guarantees that a psychological discovery even in a remote field will be of unpredictable value in other fields."
    Absolutely, case in point:

    Joe has been seeing a psychoanalyst for four years for treatment of the fear that he had monsters under his bed. It had been years since he had gotten a good night's sleep. Furthermore, his progress was very poor, and he knew it. So, one day he stops seeing the psychoanalyst and decides to try something different.
    A few weeks later, Joe's former psychoanalyst meets his old client in the supermarket, and is surprised to find him looking well-rested, energetic, and cheerful. "Doc!" Joe says, "It's amazing! I'm cured!"
    "That's great news!" the psychoanalyst says. "you seem to be doing much better. How?"
    "I went to see another doctor," Joe says enthusiastically, "and he cured me in just ONE session!"
    "One?!" the psychoanalyst asks incredulously.
    "Yeah," continues Joe, "my new doctor is a behaviorist."
    "A behaviorist?" the psychoanalyst asks. "How did he cure you in one session?"
    "Oh, easy," says Joe. "He told me to cut the legs off of my bed."
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    I used to think seeing something on a science program made it reliable but then I started participating in science forums and found out that just because the resource is one that supports science, that doesn't mean all its contributors are scientifically reliable.
    That is why I am sceptical about your dogs crying ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    I used to think seeing something on a science program made it reliable but then I started participating in science forums and found out that just because the resource is one that supports science, that doesn't mean all its contributors are scientifically reliable.
    That is why I am skeptical about your dogs crying ...
    lol that's fair. Nothing wrong with skepticism. But I trust my first hand observations over what I see on science programs. Unless they are showcasing the study itself. If it is just some person talking vaguely about the hint of what research may or may not have found but don't give any redirection to that study to prove what they said, I am guessing that the speaker is just expressing his or her lack of awareness of what studies have actually been done and what they have accomplished.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rita View Post
    I don't know, I thought of my youngest granddaughter who cried the most and now laughs the most. It is interesting to think of this as her innate tendency for aggressiveness. If this is aggressiveness, why is it expressed in crying and laughing instead of more physically as a grandson expresses his aggressiveness by being very physical. This is a question of what mental switches are being turned on and off and why? I don't know if this is important to your question, but why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically? The very physical child has a very phony sounding laugh, as though he has learned we are suppose to laugh at some things, but does not actually feel the laughter. However, he will do this quite loudly and long, and it does appear oddly aggressive. Your question has me really thinking about these matters.

    Down the puns at the end of the essay, they are funny only if a person knows the meaning of the words, and the response to sexual humor can be distaste. I think this would make it extreme difficult to test our reaction to humor, because there may be too many variables to what we think is funny. On the other hand, I remember reading about a tribe of cannibals that laughed more spontaneously and this would indicate your theory is true.

    Hum, if your theory is true, perhaps we could reduce school violence by teaching humor? Like you might onto something that is very important.
    Rita, thanks for reading my long essay. Did you read it all. Your questions suggest you didn't, or if you did you may not have absorbed it. I doubt anyone could - even "experts" in the field would have to read it more than once to solidify the ideas in their minds, as I have packed so much in it. As far as aggression is concerned, crying is not an expression of aggression but a response to thwarted aggression.

    " I define the neurological basis of crying as the disinhibition of a stereotyped behavior in response to the opposition or redundancy of neural processes responsible for the expression of positive (assertive) behaviors or when appropriate positive reactive behaviors are lacking in our repertoire of responses.
    The crying of young children is easily explained in these terms: young children cry when they are prevented from taking positive action, either due to direct blocking or by a change in circumstances."

    "In this essay I do not limit the use of the word "aggression" to forceful physical and verbal attacks, but in accordance with R.J. Rummel's ideas, where aggression is viewed as a spectrum of behaviors unified under the concept of self-assertion."

    Rita; but why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically?

    As I said crying is not an expression of aggression and the basic aspect of laughter only applies to apes and young children. Children only laugh at jokes when they are able to connect emotions to the meanings of words.
    In this essay I define the basic neurological aspect of human laughter as the disinhibition of a stereotyped behavior in response to the opposition or redundancy of the neural processes responsible for the expression of negative (fear-based) behaviors.

    As for the boy's laughter, this is what is called non-Duchene laughter.

    "A mention must be made here of Duchenne and non-Duchenne laughter. Duchenne laughter/smile, named after the French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne, is seen as being involuntary whereas non-Duchenne laughter is a more controlled form of laughter which lacks an emotional basis. However, non-Duchenne laughter is such a natural part of our conversational vocalization that we do not normally appreciate the distinction. The laughter of game-show hosts and salesmen is often of the non-Duchenne type. It is thought to have developed to allow hominids to use its affect-inducting properties to strategically influence others in social interactions. ( Gervais and Wilson, 2005)"



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    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rita View Post
    I don't know, I thought of my youngest granddaughter who cried the most and now laughs the most. It is interesting to think of this as her innate tendency for aggressiveness. If this is aggressiveness, why is it expressed in crying and laughing instead of more physically as a grandson expresses his aggressiveness by being very physical. This is a question of what mental switches are being turned on and off and why? I don't know if this is important to your question, but why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically? The very physical child has a very phony sounding laugh, as though he has learned we are suppose to laugh at some things, but does not actually feel the laughter. However, he will do this quite loudly and long, and it does appear oddly aggressive. Your question has me really thinking about these matters.

    Down the puns at the end of the essay, they are funny only if a person knows the meaning of the words, and the response to sexual humor can be distaste. I think this would make it extreme difficult to test our reaction to humor, because there may be too many variables to what we think is funny. On the other hand, I remember reading about a tribe of cannibals that laughed more spontaneously and this would indicate your theory is true.

    Hum, if your theory is true, perhaps we could reduce school violence by teaching humor? Like you might onto something that is very important.
    Rita, thanks for reading my long essay. Did you read it all. Your questions suggest you didn't, or if you did you may not have absorbed it. I doubt anyone could - even "experts" in the field would have to read it more than once to solidify the ideas in their minds, as I have packed so much in it. As far as aggression is concerned, crying is not an expression of aggression but a response to thwarted aggression.

    " I define the neurological basis of crying as the disinhibition of a stereotyped behavior in response to the opposition or redundancy of neural processes responsible for the expression of positive (assertive) behaviors or when appropriate positive reactive behaviors are lacking in our repertoire of responses.
    The crying of young children is easily explained in these terms: young children cry when they are prevented from taking positive action, either due to direct blocking or by a change in circumstances."

    "In this essay I do not limit the use of the word "aggression" to forceful physical and verbal attacks, but in accordance with R.J. Rummel's ideas, where aggression is viewed as a spectrum of behaviors unified under the concept of self-assertion."

    Rita; but why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically?

    As I said crying is not an expression of aggression and the basic aspect of laughter only applies to apes and young children. Children only laugh at jokes when they are able to connect emotions to the meanings of words.
    In this essay I define the basic neurological aspect of human laughter as the disinhibition of a stereotyped behavior in response to the opposition or redundancy of the neural processes responsible for the expression of negative (fear-based) behaviors.

    As for the boy's laughter, this is what is called non-Duchene laughter.

    "A mention must be made here of Duchenne and non-Duchenne laughter. Duchenne laughter/smile, named after the French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne, is seen as being involuntary whereas non-Duchenne laughter is a more controlled form of laughter which lacks an emotional basis. However, non-Duchenne laughter is such a natural part of our conversational vocalization that we do not normally appreciate the distinction. The laughter of game-show hosts and salesmen is often of the non-Duchenne type. It is thought to have developed to allow hominids to use its affect-inducting properties to strategically influence others in social interactions. ( Gervais and Wilson, 2005)"




    Thank you for making it possible for me to say, engaging in this discussion is a huge stretch for me! I do not understand some of your terms and concepts so it is about like reading a foreign language. On the other hand I am totally fascinated by what you are saying. Thank you for the explanation of my grandson's strange laughter. I am wondering if this is an inherited trait and possible developmental problem, or just a learned behavior? The child's father seems to have abnormal emotional responses. He is a prefect silver tongued devil. Totally charming but there is a disconnect between the words and the emotions. However, I can relate to using a small laugh for strategical influence.

    Wow, I hope my talk does not sound too much like childish chatter to you, but now I am remember laughing when nervous. This was especially a problem when I was young and my mother was angry with me. Would such a nervous laughter have anything to do with your research? I love the connections, laughter used for strategical influence observed in hominids, and also laughter as nervous response when wanting to appease someone. With my mother it was not a good strategy but made her even more angry, and I learned to inhibit the nervous laughter. Are you sure there is a big disconnection between laughing and crying, when both can be associated with appeasing? Going on the idea of mirror brain cells, laughing, crying and yawning may be associated? Forgive me, I have been pondering the difference between human communication and lower animal communication, and one idea just leads to another. I am visualizing ape behaviors as I try to think things through.

    Why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically? I am not sure, but this is what I observe when comparing my granddaughter with a grandson. This would be the boy who has a non- Duchenne laugh. He is very physical and prone to acting without thinking of the consequences. In general boys seem to push and shove in a very dominating manner, without much thinking about the effect they are having. Getting control of the ball/toy is all that matters. Whereas, as girls soccer coach observed, the girls appear to want to take turns, and play a friendly game.

    My granddaughter appears to think about consequences and at times seems fearful of taking action, especially in a social situation. Running up and grabbing that toy might not work out so well. She might make more of an effort to get someone like Mom, teacher, or older sibling to get things for her, than my grandson who isn't going to let anything get between him and what he wants.

    My granddaughter used to cry a lot when she was a baby and couldn't run around the room, and now she laughs spontaneously, duchenne laughter. There was no denying her crying was anger and demanding. One day when I turned my attention to another baby, she began her demanding crying, putting me in a position of having to attend to her, or face criticism for neglecting her. She has 4 older siblings, and at home someone would come running to appease her when she cried. It is very hard for me to believe that was not aggression. Both behaviors, a demanding cry or grabbing the toy, are asserting one's will, and I do not understand the terminology you use to explain crying is not an aggressive behavior. This is a sincere question, is yelling at someone in anger "the disinhibition of a stereotyped behavior in response to the opposition or redundancy of neural processes responsible for the expression of positive (assertive) behaviors or when appropriate positive reactive behaviors are lacking in our repertoire of responses."

    You have me thinking a lot about how family members express their aggressiveness, and I am wondering if we can teach humor as a coping mechanism, diverting aggression from possibly harmful behaviors to a pleasing behavior. It is so much better to respond by laughing, than with rage, hitting and angry words. Internally, seeing the humor in a situation feels much better. I don't know if this relates to your research or not? But for awhile anyway, this talk has me paying more attention to my own reactions and behaviors.
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    Rita, I am glad my essay made you think. It is a thing people are often loath to do.

    Like many, you have taken what I have written to mean that crying is an aggressive (assertive) act, or an expression of aggression. It is the blocking of wanting something to happen, a blocking of assertive action, that leads to crying. I have seem some grown men cry when they have been held back from fighting, after a heated argument.

    Your granddaughter was crying because she wasn't getting what she wanted, your attention.

    " As children initially lack language, and for some time the ability to act independently, the communicative aspect of non-verbal vocalizations is particularly important at this stage of our development."

    "The crying of babies and young children is a special case because in difficult situations they act by proxy. They do not have the physical ability, nor the knowledge or repertoire of responses, to take appropriate actions when faced with novel events. They cry because they are helpless, and this non-verbal communication, whether it is a response to hunger or hurt, is interpreted by adults as "Do something!". When, as adults, we are bereaved we return to a childlike state. There are no actions that can be taken to avoid death. We cry when we are bereaved for all the reasons outlined above and because we realize that there is nothing we can do to bring the dead person back or prevent our own demise. Like the young child, we have no effective response in our repertoire for this situation."

    Rita:
    Why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically?

    Children do not express aggressiveness by crying, and laughing sometimes arises in young children because laughter is a release of tension in general, and also, on a basic level, it occurs when fear is opposed.

    "Our organismal reaction to falling is fear, and a young child's screams of laughter when being tossed into the air by a trusted adult is an indication that the fear response is being opposed by the child's tacit knowledge that he is in no danger. If the child is tossed by an adult with whom he is merely acquainted, he may not laugh at all, and as his fear level rises unopposed, his response becomes a communicative crying for help." (Organismal means the things we share with other organisms)"

    People do not always act in the same way to the same stimuli. So one person might cry in the same situation that makes another person laugh.

    "c) There seems to be a large number of events that cause human beings to laugh and cry, and the search for causes has often centered on the events rather than the individuals involved. There is not a large number of events with completely different natures but rather a variety of individual responses to these events. Whether an individual laughs, cries or is left unmoved by an event depends on the individual's sex, age, ethnicity, body type, intelligence, culture, knowledge, experiences and all the other physical and mental characteristics that make them a unique individual. Their emotional state at the time of the event and their basic long term emotional state will also affect their response".

    Hope this has answered your question. Don't hesitate to ask more questions if you are not sure what I am getting at.

    PS Yelling at someone is an aggressive act (a verbal attack) and not stereotyped behavior. Stereotyped behaviors, in the context of displacement activities, is the expression of a benign behavior that is performed in place of aggressiveness. It can act as a signal, as it does when a young child cries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    I can appeal to the fact that there is an intimate connection between all mental happenings - a fact which guarantees that a psychological discovery even in a remote field will be of unpredictable value in other fields."
    Absolutely, case in point:

    Joe has been seeing a psychoanalyst for four years for treatment of the fear that he had monsters under his bed. It had been years since he had gotten a good night's sleep. Furthermore, his progress was very poor, and he knew it. So, one day he stops seeing the psychoanalyst and decides to try something different.
    A few weeks later, Joe's former psychoanalyst meets his old client in the supermarket, and is surprised to find him looking well-rested, energetic, and cheerful. "Doc!" Joe says, "It's amazing! I'm cured!"
    "That's great news!" the psychoanalyst says. "you seem to be doing much better. How?"
    "I went to see another doctor," Joe says enthusiastically, "and he cured me in just ONE session!"
    "One?!" the psychoanalyst asks incredulously.
    "Yeah," continues Joe, "my new doctor is a behaviorist."
    "A behaviorist?" the psychoanalyst asks. "How did he cure you in one session?"
    "Oh, easy," says Joe. "He told me to cut the legs off of my bed."
    Not so silly as it seems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    Rita, I am glad my essay made you think. It is a thing people are often loath to do.

    Like many, you have taken what I have written to mean that crying is an aggressive (assertive) act, or an expression of aggression. It is the blocking of wanting something to happen, a blocking of assertive action, that leads to crying. I have seem some grown men cry when they have been held back from fighting, after a heated argument.

    Your granddaughter was crying because she wasn't getting what she wanted, your attention.

    " As children initially lack language, and for some time the ability to act independently, the communicative aspect of non-verbal vocalizations is particularly important at this stage of our development."

    "The crying of babies and young children is a special case because in difficult situations they act by proxy. They do not have the physical ability, nor the knowledge or repertoire of responses, to take appropriate actions when faced with novel events. They cry because they are helpless, and this non-verbal communication, whether it is a response to hunger or hurt, is interpreted by adults as "Do something!". When, as adults, we are bereaved we return to a childlike state. There are no actions that can be taken to avoid death. We cry when we are bereaved for all the reasons outlined above and because we realize that there is nothing we can do to bring the dead person back or prevent our own demise. Like the young child, we have no effective response in our repertoire for this situation."

    Rita:
    Why would one child express aggressiveness with crying and laughing and another do so physically?

    Children do not express aggressiveness by crying, and laughing sometimes arises in young children because laughter is a release of tension in general, and also, on a basic level, it occurs when fear is opposed.

    "Our organismal reaction to falling is fear, and a young child's screams of laughter when being tossed into the air by a trusted adult is an indication that the fear response is being opposed by the child's tacit knowledge that he is in no danger. If the child is tossed by an adult with whom he is merely acquainted, he may not laugh at all, and as his fear level rises unopposed, his response becomes a communicative crying for help." (Organismal means the things we share with other organisms)"

    People do not always act in the same way to the same stimuli. So one person might cry in the same situation that makes another person laugh.

    "c) There seems to be a large number of events that cause human beings to laugh and cry, and the search for causes has often centered on the events rather than the individuals involved. There is not a large number of events with completely different natures but rather a variety of individual responses to these events. Whether an individual laughs, cries or is left unmoved by an event depends on the individual's sex, age, ethnicity, body type, intelligence, culture, knowledge, experiences and all the other physical and mental characteristics that make them a unique individual. Their emotional state at the time of the event and their basic long term emotional state will also affect their response".

    Hope this has answered your question. Don't hesitate to ask more questions if you are not sure what I am getting at.

    PS Yelling at someone is an aggressive act (a verbal attack) and not stereotyped behavior. Stereotyped behaviors, in the context of displacement activities, is the expression of a benign behavior that is performed in place of aggressiveness. It can act as a signal, as it does when a young child cries.
    Sorry for not getting back to you. Unlike most the threads, what you are saying requires a lot of thinking, and knee jerk responses to you post will not do. Now I want to stress I know a little science, that acts as seeds for thought, and do not claim to be a scientist specialized in this matter. I have been accused of not being scientific and also of being arrogant, and I am trying to find the path through the gauntlet line that will result in the least attacks. I will use the little science I have learned, plus experience, to speculate for the sake of argument.

    I really think much of my granddaughter's crying was equal to aggressively yelling at someone. I am thinking of birds in a nest. The most aggressive baby bird is the one who will get the most food. I understand the opposite of aggressiveness as being passive, not fighting for what one wants. It is hard not to reward annoying children for their bad behavior, because we want to appease them and stop the annoying behavior. Especially if we are inconsistent in giving in to them, we encourage the aggressive behavior we do not want. Also, some children seem to be born to be more aggressive or more passive than others.

    Traumatized children may go into a state of shock, rather than cry or fight. That is the real recognition of being helpless. They just black out. I don't think a crying and fighting child is one who feels helpless. Neglected children tend to become dull. However, if this child sometimes wins, the child will go down the path of aggression, instead of the path of being passive and dull. We might say this is subconscious stuff, not requiring language. It is feeling based information, not verbal based information. Just the same, it is information and the child must decide how to react to it, if the child is consciously making the decision or not. Is this a matter of subconscious verse conscious controls? I don't think pre-verbal children lack consciousness, and I feel pretty strongly about the need for medial treatment of children to recognize there is a conscious being in the body they are treating. The baby is not just a lump of bones and muscles waiting for a brain to develop.

    I like your comment about laughter being a release of tension. I wish I had reacted to being put in a body cast at age 1 by laughing. But unlike the child thrown in the air, I did not laugh. I blacked out. My own personal thoughts may not be useful to you at all, but boy, am I getting a lot out of this think! Several years ago I read a book about traumatized children, trying to understand myself, and the author could not imagine how non verbal children react to be traumatize, so she could not give me all the information I desire. Trying to think through your arguments is developing my thoughts about the whole experience and ramifications of it.

    Interesting that research has centered on events, rather than on the individual. I think something of value is to be found by following individuals and then comparing the individual responses. Perhaps individual types can be classified into archetypes, as the Greeks classified the gods and goddess in archetypes. Than it can be predicted how each archetype react to the stimulus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BasilHugh View Post
    I can appeal to the fact that there is an intimate connection between all mental happenings - a fact which guarantees that a psychological discovery even in a remote field will be of unpredictable value in other fields."
    Absolutely, case in point:

    Joe has been seeing a psychoanalyst for four years for treatment of the fear that he had monsters under his bed. It had been years since he had gotten a good night's sleep. Furthermore, his progress was very poor, and he knew it. So, one day he stops seeing the psychoanalyst and decides to try something different.
    A few weeks later, Joe's former psychoanalyst meets his old client in the supermarket, and is surprised to find him looking well-rested, energetic, and cheerful. "Doc!" Joe says, "It's amazing! I'm cured!"
    "That's great news!" the psychoanalyst says. "you seem to be doing much better. How?"
    "I went to see another doctor," Joe says enthusiastically, "and he cured me in just ONE session!"
    "One?!" the psychoanalyst asks incredulously.
    "Yeah," continues Joe, "my new doctor is a behaviorist."
    "A behaviorist?" the psychoanalyst asks. "How did he cure you in one session?"
    "Oh, easy," says Joe. "He told me to cut the legs off of my bed."
    Not so silly as it seems.
    Yes, the KISS principle applies, as it does for most things.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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