Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 399–420 | Cite as

Dealing with laughter and ridicule in adolescence: relations with bullying and emotional responses

  • René T. Proyer
  • Lukas E. Meier
  • Tracey Platt
  • Willibald Ruch


We investigated the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia), the joy in being laughed at (gelotophilia), and the joy in laughing at others (katagelasticism) in adolescent students (N = 324, 13–15 years). Gelotophobia was associated primarily with the victim and katagelasticism with the bully-role (self- and peer reports). Gelotophobia correlated with laughing at oneself if experiencing an embarrassing situation. Gelotophilia increased with the propensity to laugh if observing or experiencing embarrassment; katagelasticism increased with laughing if observing something embarrassing in another person. Imagining potentially embarrassing situations was associated with greater feelings of anxiety, shame, sadness, and embarrassment; gelotophilia with joy and cheerfulness. The study breaks the ground for a better understanding on how adolescent students deal with laughter and ridicule.


Bullying Gelotophobia Gelotophilia Katagelasticism Laughter Ridicule Victimization 



This work was supported by a research grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation awarded to RTP and WR (SNSF; 100014_126967) and the European Union Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n 270780 (ILHAIRE project).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • René T. Proyer
    • 1
  • Lukas E. Meier
    • 1
  • Tracey Platt
    • 1
  • Willibald Ruch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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