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The art and science behind why lovers always tease each other

on 13 January 2019
Laughing our way through life

Every one of our bodies comes complete with an onboard management system, the mind and an onboard entertainment system, laughter. One should never underestimate the power of both of these systems because laughter comes through the mind and feeds back into it! It is akin to the elixir of life. . . 

Laughter has long been known to be the best antidote for a life less travelled and that is simply a consequence of the neurochemical soup that accompanies laughter; it feels good to laugh! So, it's no surprise then that scientists have discovered the relationship between those who can laugh at themselves and those that can't. However, it is not as easy as deciding to tolerate other people laughing at you, first you have to understand the psychology behind what makes you not happy when people laugh at you. To be happy, not tolerant, when someone laughs at you, requires a very special mindset and a high sense of self-esteem, self-worth and self-respect for yourself. 

For those that cannot laugh at themselves, or that ubiquitous bunch who make others the butt of their jokes but cannot take it when they become the butt, life can be more challenging and they for sure are nowhere near as happy as those who have a healthy self-image and, more often than not, a happier experience of life; they're often more fun to be with too!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little sleep and too little by way of clarity! So, to take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to make your life feel better,  then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

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The Research: 

Laughter plays an important role in romantic relationships -- whether or not it's shared together or directed at the significant other. If partners handle laughter or being laughed at in a similar way, they tend to be quite content with their relationship. People who are afraid of being laughed at, on the other hand, are often less happy in their relationship. This also affects their partner and their sexuality, psychologists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) concluded in a study recently published in the "Journal of Research in Personality."

Laughter plays an important role for people: "Earlier studies have shown that people are looking for a partner with a sense of humour and who enjoys a laugh," says psychologist Professor René Proyer from MLU, who conducted the new study together with Kay Brauer.

How people react to being laughed at differs widely: some people are afraid of being laughed at. "They tend to interpret the laughter as something negative or derogative," Proyer explains and goes on to say that others enjoy being the centre of attention and intentionally provoke situations that make others laugh about them. For many people, being laughed at is an expression of appreciation. Another characteristic is enjoying laughing about others and intentionally making them the butt of jokes, for example. "These three characteristics are personality traits that can occur at the same time, to varying degrees and in different combinations. They can range, for example, from making harmless jokes to ridiculing others. All of these characteristics are normal, up to a certain point -- including being afraid of being laughed at," Proyer continues. Profiles can be concluded from the combination of the individual traits -- for example someone who likes to laugh about others but does not like it when others laugh about them.

For their current study, the psychologists from MLU conducted online interviews with 154 heterosexual couples. The participants separately answered questions about their relationship, for example about how satisfied the partners were with their relationship overall, whether the couple often argued and how satisfied both partners were with their sex life. The researchers also investigated how the study participants handle being laughed at and whether they like to laugh at others.

For the subsequent analysis, the researchers, first of all, compared the statements made by each person: "We found that partners are often alike with regard to their individual characteristics and also their profiles," Kay Brauer summarises. If these matched, the couples were usually more content in their relationship than others.

The researchers observed that provoking others to laugh at you primarily has positive effects: "Women reported more often that they tended to be satisfied with their relationship and felt more attracted to their partner. They and their partners also tended to be equally satisfied with their sex life," Brauer continues. Being afraid of being laughed at, on the other hand, tended to have negative effects: people who have this fear are less content in their relationship and also tend to mistrust their partner. This also has consequences for the partner: men said more frequently that they did not really feel satisfied with their sex life if their partner was afraid of being laughed at.

The psychologists did not find this kind of interdependence with regard to relationship contentment when it came to people who like to ridicule others. However, the couples tended to argue more often. "That is hardly surprising, considering that these people often go too far and make derisive comments which can then lead to an argument," says Brauer.

Irrespectively, both researchers state that handling laughter and being laughed at in a similar way alone does not suffice to assess whether a relationship is a "good" one. Of course, there is more to a successful relationship in which partners experience happiness. However, knowing whether one of the two partners in a relationship is afraid of being laughed at could be useful information for couples therapy or relationship counselling. In follow-up studies, the psychologists aim to combine their current results with statements made by singles on how they handle laughter.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kay Brauer, René T. Proyer. To love and laugh: Testing actor-, partner-, and similarity effects of dispositions towards ridicule and being laughed at on relationship satisfactionJournal of Research in Personality, 2018; 76: 165 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2018.08.008

Cite This Page: Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. "Do lovers always tease each other? The study shows how couples handle laughter and banter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181016094417.htm>.