Laughter in focus at university event

Dr Elena Hoicka
Dr Elena Hoicka
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An international summer school looking at humour and laughter is being hosted this week at the University of Sheffield.

Psychologists, sociologists, computer scientists and academics from across the world are giving lectures.

Dr Elena Hoicka, of the University’s Department of Psychology, said: “Humour is so important in everyday life.

“It allows us to bond with friends, think in more open and creative ways about the world, and deal with stress, amongst many of its uses.”

Lectures include how children develop their sense of humour, including how parents are involved in shaping humour, and when children make up their own jokes.

There will also be an analysis of jokes in relation to social class, how computers can be made to generate jokes, comedy and disability and political aspects such as humour in the time of Stalin, and more recently, Putin’s humour.

There will also be a consideration of gelotophobia - a fear of being laughed at.

Among the countries represented at the summer school are the USA, Brazil, Russia, Poland, Spain and Italy.