Laughing to hurt others

Here’s an interesting one for you.

I’ve been struggling to gather data on a particular topic in my research and I’m looking for your help with it.

Image Courtesy of adbuster via under CC License
Image Courtesy of adbuster via under CC License

It seems that there are plenty of people who believe that they have been laughed at in an intentional way, as in, another person has actively chosen to use laughter as a ‘weapon’ against them. This experience can be very hurtful. I know what it’s like to be laughed at, rather than with, because I still remember a time when I was a young lad and two girls a little younger than me couldn’t stop laughing at my teenage spots. I’m confident that I didn’t misunderstand what they were laughing at, because I heard them say ‘look at his spots’ before their fit of giggles started (and continued until I left their vicinity).

I found the experience to be very upsetting and I still remember it vividly. They lived in my locality and being honest, I held a grudge against them for many years.

Ever since it happened, I interpreted their laughter to be intentional. Now that I’ve been researching laughter, I think differently. I no longer believe that they laughed because they wanted to hurt me. They didn’t even know me and had no reason to hurt me. There was something else at play and I believe that my interpretation of the meaning of their laughter is just as interesting as the laughter itself – perhaps even more so.

My problem now is that I can’t think of a single example of when someone laughed at me to intentionally hurt me. Nor can I find any clear examples of this occurring in the many interviews I’ve done for my PhD research.

So here’s the help that I’m looking for.

A) I’m looking to speak with people who feel that they have been the target of intentional laughter. By that, I mean that you are confident that a person or group of people laughed at you which the intention of causing you distress, or to mock you.

B) I am especially keen to speak with people who feel that they have laughed at people with the intention to cause them distress or to mock them. By that, I don’t mean that you have laughed at someone else who is not aware that you laughed at them. I mean that you were in some form of direct communication with them, or in their vicinity and you wanted them to know that you were laughing at them.

If you do decide to help me out by corresponding with me on this, then rest assured that your participation would be completely anonymous. If you contact me via this link, I’ll get back to you with more information on my study and I’ll ask you to complete a simple consent form.

Thanks in advance,




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