Constructing Cohesion through Laughter

Gillian Hendry
School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, Scotland

Sally Wiggins
School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, Scotland

Tony Anderson
School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, Scotland

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Ingår i: Independent in the heard: Inclusion and exclusion as social processes. Proceedings from the 9th GRASP conference, Linköping University, May 2014

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 121:1, s. 1-16

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Publicerad: 2015-01-21

ISBN: 978-91-7519-217-8

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


One of the most consistently studied constructs within group dynamics literature is that of cohesiveness; the extent to which individuals within a group feel connected. Members of strongly cohesive groups are more inclined to participate and stay with the group, and past research has reported that laughter has the ability to enhance cohesion between individuals, although there is limited work showing exactly how this happens. Twenty two students comprising eight groups from two UK universities were video-recorded as they partook in group work, with the resultant sixty four hours of video data being analysed using discursive psychology centring on episodes of laughter in interaction. As ‘sticking together’ is a defining feature of cohesiveness, the analysis focused on instances in which a group member did the opposite of this by group-deprecating; revealing a weakness about the group, with findings showing that cohesion is constructed through the acceptance of and expansion upon the disparagement.


Group work; discursive psychology; laughter; cohesion


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