In his review of the quirky French comedy Welcome to the Sticks (2008), Keith Oatley notes this film is "not of the kind in which one might laugh at someone slipping on a banana skin. Instead the director and actors have contrived a joining-in-together laughter, in which they take part." He goes on to comment on the film in the context of an early 20th century philosopher's take on why people laugh—that laughter is completely human, that we do not laugh unless we are a bit detached, and that laughter is social so we only laugh when we are in touch with others. How well do you believe these ideas hold true? How might you expand or edit these points? What other key principles would you add based on the latest science?
By Keith Oatley
PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(45)