The Development of Antiphonal Laughter between Friends and Strangers
Smoski, Moria J.
The temporal pattern of laughter between social partners has been shown to vary according to the sex and familiarity of the partners. The present study examines the trajectory of antiphonal laughter (i.e., laughter between social partners that occurs in close temporal proximity) in new friendships. Participants were tested in either same- or mixed-sex dyads, with dyads composed of individuals who either were or were not familiar to each other. Testing occurred in three sessions over the course of participantsâ€™ first semester in college. Dyads were audio-recorded while they played brief games intended to facilitate laugh production. An index of antiphonal laughter for each dyad was derived using sequential analysis techniques. Changes in both the rate of antiphonal laughter use and the associations between antiphonal laughter and friendship between dyad members were examined. New acquaintances produced more antiphonal laughter than strangers did when the antiphonal laugh pair was initiated with an unvoiced laugh, but not when initiated with a voiced laugh. Limited evidence was found to suggest that the frequency of laugh induction by a partnerâ€™s laughter predicted subsequent friendship strength. The personality characteristics of extraversion and emotional expressivity were unrelated to laugh production, although extraversion did predict the partnersâ€™ ratings of friendship strength. The results are discussed in the context of an affect induction model of laugh production.