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Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 139–144 | Cite as

Effects of laughter and relaxation on discomfort thresholds

  • Rosemary Cogan
  • Dennis Cogan
  • William Waltz
  • Melissa McCue
Article

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to test the proposal that laughter is a pain antagonist. In Experiment I, thresholds for pressure-induced discomfort of 20 male and 20 female subjects were measured after each subject listened to a 20-min-long laughter-inducing, relaxation-inducing, or dull-narrative audio tape or no tape. Discomfort thresholds were higher for subjects in the laughter- and the relaxation-inducing conditions. In Experiment II, 40 female subjects were matched for pressure-induced discomfort thresholds. Their discomfort thresholds were measured after they listened to a laughter-inducing, interesting narrative, or uninteresting narrative audio tape, completed a multiplication task, or experienced no intervention. Discomfort thresholds increased for subjects in the laughter-inducing condition. Laughter, and not simply distraction, reduces discomfort sensitivity, suggesting that laughter has potential as an intervention strategy for the reduction of clinical discomfort.

Key words

coping laughter pain relaxation 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary Cogan
    • 1
  • Dennis Cogan
    • 1
  • William Waltz
    • 1
  • Melissa McCue
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas Tech UniversityLubbock

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