Laughter for Defusing Tension: Examples from Business Meetings in Japanese and in English

  • Kazuyo Murata
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5447)


The present study addresses one function of laughter in workplace meetings, namely laughter which does not reflect amusement and which occurs where there is tension between speakers and hearers. In this study, this laughter is illustrated with examples from authentic business meeting data in Japanese and in English, recorded in Japan and New Zealand respectively. Based on analysis of meeting data, the following differences were found: (1) laughter alone (not associated with humor) serves to defuse tension in the Japanese data; (2) laughter associated with humor and funniness serves the same function in the English data.


Laughter1 Laughter2 defusing tension 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazuyo Murata
    • 1
  1. 1.Ryukoku UniversityKyotoJapan

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