Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 475–483 | Cite as

Teasing, Ridiculing and the Relation to the Fear of Being Laughed at in Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Andrea C. Samson
  • Oswald Huber
  • Willibald Ruch
Original Paper


The present paper investigated the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) in relation to recalled experiences of having been laughed at in the past in individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). About 45% of the individuals with AS (N = 40), but only 6% of the controls (N = 83) had at least a slight form of gelotophobia, which is the highest percentage ever found in the literature. Gelotophobia correlated with the frequency and severity of remembered teasing and mocking situations in the past. This indicates that gelotophobia is an important issue in individuals with AS. Furthermore, individuals with AS are less able to laugh at themselves (gelotophilia), but enjoy laughing at others (katagelasticism, a more hostile form of humor) to the same extent as controls do.


Asperger’s syndrome Humor Laughter Gelotophobia Fear of being laughed at Teasing 



The authors would like to thank all the participants who contributed to the study. We thank Sandra Utz, Nicole Giuliani and the reviewers for their helpful comments on previous versions of the manuscript. The study was financially supported by the Research fund (Project number: 321) of the University of Fribourg.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea C. Samson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oswald Huber
    • 2
  • Willibald Ruch
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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