Laughing, a psychology of humor

Written by: Norman Norwood Holland

The author of a book about laughing and humor has an educational background that one would not necessarily associate with either topic – an electrical engineering degree from MIT, a J.D. and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Harvard Law School.

He was a professor at MIT’s School of Humanities for 10 years and became the head of the literature section. When he graduated from the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, he became char of the Department of English at the State University of New York. He also taught at the University of Florida.

Norman Norwood Holland held a number of academic positions and has a distinguished professional career; sitting on a number of boards and founding the PSYART online discussion group. In later years, Holland would become the movie and literary critic for the Boston area PBS station.

In this text, Holland seeks to answer that age-old question, “Why do we laugh?” At one time, he taught a course he called “The Comic Sensibility.” They studied jokes, cartoons and historical literature. This textbook discusses many of the psychological theories associated with humor and laughter.

Table of Contents for Laughing, a Psychology of Humor

Part I: Why do we laugh?
1. The Comic
2. Stimuli
3. Conditions
4. Psychology
5. Physiology
6. Catharsis
Part II: How can we ask?
7. Theorists Theorizing
8. Laughers Laughing
9. Identity
10. Why Ellen Laughed
11. Why the Rest of Us Laugh

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Laughing, a psychology of humor

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