Laura E. Kurtz, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Sara B. Algoe, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Putting laughter in context: Shared laughter as behavioral indicator of relationship well-being
Version of Record online: 24 AUG 2015
Copyright © 2015 IARR
Volume 22, Issue 4, pages 573–590, December 2015
How to Cite
KURTZ, L. E. and ALGOE, S. B. (2015), Putting laughter in context: Shared laughter as behavioral indicator of relationship well-being. Personal Relationships, 22: 573–590. doi: 10.1111/pere.12095
This work was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health grant (MH59615) to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. We would like to thank Meral Ebru Dikmen, Jessica Glenn, Jin Kang, Danielle Lambert, Carly Rose, Karen Sharick, Levi Turner, and Elisabeth Ulrich for their hard work on the behavioral coding projects reported in this article and the rest of the Emotions and Social Interactions in Relationships Lab members for their feedback on prior drafts of this manuscript.
- Issue online: 8 DEC 2015
- Version of Record online: 24 AUG 2015
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 FEB 2015
- Manuscript Revised: 8 FEB 2015
- Manuscript Received: 27 JUN 2014
Laughter is a pervasive human behavior that most frequently happens in a social context. However, data linking the behavior of laughter with psychological or social outcomes are exceptionally rare. Here, the authors draw attention to shared laughter as a useful objective marker of relationship well-being. Spontaneously generated laughs of 71 heterosexual romantic couples were coded from a videorecorded conversation about how the couple first met. Multilevel models revealed that while controlling for all other laughter present, the proportion of the conversation spent laughing simultaneously with the romantic partner was uniquely positively associated with global evaluations of relationship quality, closeness, and social support. Results are discussed with respect to methodological considerations and theoretical implications for relationships and behavioral research more broadly.