Ruch Hofmann

Fakultäten » Philosophische Fakultät » Psychologisches Institut » Persönlichkeitspsychologie und Diagnostik » Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch » Ruch Hofmann

Completed research project

Title / Titel Laughter
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Laughter is considered an universal marker for joy (alongside smiling, see e.g., Elfenbein & Ambady, 2002; Ekman, 2003; Gendron, Roberson, van der Vyver, & Feldman–Barrett, 2014; Hawk, van Kleef, Fischer, & van der Schalk, 2009; Laukka et al., 2013; Sauter, Eisner, Ekman, & Scott, 2010; Sauter, McDonald, Gangi, & Messinger, 2013) and one of the nonverbal signals with the most positive valence (e.g., Lima, Castro, & Scott, 2013; Soares et al., 2013). Still, surprisingly little is known about individual differences in the propensity to express laughter, and how the laughter morphology is affected by differing levels of intensity and attempts to regulate laughter. Also, while laughter is commonly associated with amusement (see e.g., Ekman, 2003; Ruch & Ekman, 2001), there are several indications that laughter may go along with other positive emotional states. Thus, studies are needed to clarify the factors (i.e., personality, elicitors, intensity, regulation) influencing the elicitation and morphology of laughter in order to a) appropriately interpret individual differences in the laughter expression in research and applications, b) develop appropriate assessment methods of laughter, c) being able to distinguish different laughter types, and d) understand the nature of positive emotions better. In this project, several studies are conducted to investigate laughter elicitors, morphological features and personality influences. It builds up on initial findings from the ILHAIRE project (see here *Link to: and findings from the SNSF project “The joyful face may hide an evil mind: Individual differences in fearing laughter” (see here *Link to
Publications / Publikationen Hofmann, J. (2014). Intense or malicious? The decoding of eyebrow-lowering frowning in laughter animations depends on the presentation mode. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, 5, 1306. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01306. Link:

Hofmann, J., Platt, T., Ruch, W., & Niewiadomski, R., Urbain, J. (2014). The influence of a virtual companion on amusement when watching funny films. Motivation and Emotion. doi: 10.1007/s11031-014-9461-y

Hofmann J., & Ruch, W. (2014). Lachforschung? Ist das ein Witz? Neue Entwicklungen in der ernsthaften Forschung zum Lachen. [Laughter research? Is this a joke? New developments in the serious research on laughter]. DIE FURCHE, 29(1), 4-5.

Hofmann, J., & Ruch, W. (2016). Gibt es ein Lachen der Schadenfreude? Semiotika (Sonderheft Lachen).

Hofmann, J., & Ruch, W. (accepted). Laughter. In Dana S. Dunn (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online. New York: Oxford University Press.

See also:
Mancini, M., Hofmann, J., Volpe, G., Varni, G., Platt, T., Glowinski, D., Ruch, W., & Camurri, A. (2013). Towards automated full body detection of laughter driven by human expert annotation. 5th International Workshop on Affective Interaction in Natural Environments (AFFINE), 757-762. doi:10.1109/acii.2013.140 (ILHAIRE)

Ruch, W., Hofmann, J., & Platt, T. (2013). Investigating facial features of four types of laughter in historic illustrations. European Journal of Humor Research, 1(1), 98-118. (ILHAIRE)

Ruch, W., Hofmann, J., & Platt, T. (2015). Individual differences in gelotophobia and responses to laughter-eliciting emotions. Personality and Individual Differences, 72, 117 – 121. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.034

Ruch, W., Platt, T., Hofmann, J., Niewiadomski, R., Urbain, J., Mancini, M, & Dupont, S. (2014). Gelotophobia and the challenges of implementing laughter into Virtual Agents interactions. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8:928. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00928 (ILHAIRE)

Keywords / Suchbegriffe Laugher, Positive Emotion, Personality, Facial Action Coding System
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch (Project Leader)
Dr. Jennifer Hofmann (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Universität Zürich (position pursuing an academic career)
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Dr. Tracey Platt, University of Wolverhampton United Kingdom
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Sep 2014 to Sep 2018