17th International Summer School and Symposium on Humour and Laughter: 
Theory, Research and Applications
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Updated Schedule is available to the participants through ISS17 Yahoo Group.

Aims and Objectives

Interest in both research on humour and practical applications of humour has increased sharply in the past decade. For new research students just beginning their research careers or those already-trained researchers considering a first research project on humour, this course will ensure that they enter the field with a strong foundation in existing theoretical and methodological issues, and are well versed in the pitfalls confronting the scientific study of humour. For those interested in practical applications of humour in a variety of applied settings, the course will introduce them to the kinds of approaches that are being used around the world to put humour to work and to deliver the benefits of humour and laughter.

Structure of Course

There will be sessions from Monday morning to Saturday afternoon inclusive, with one afternoon free for relaxation, sight-seeing, etc., and about half a day during the week for the Symposium. For the rest of the time, classes will be presented by a number of lecturers. (See the main Summer School site for information about previous events in this series.)

The sessions are of two types:

Talks: These usually last about 45-50 minutes with a further 10 minutes or so for questions and discussion. These constitute a single slot on the timetable. Most of the presentations are Talks.

Workshops: A Workshop is a double (1 or 2 hour) slot, so that the presentation can go into more depth and specialisation, and will usually be in parallel with some other very different session(s), so that participants have a choice between specialisations. A Workshop may involve activities other than traditional lecturing, for example discussion, debate, or exercises carried out by the audience members.

There will also be a small number of Meet the Lecturer sessions, where a participant can sign up for a short one-to-one discussion with a lecturer of his/her choice.


The Symposium is where participants may present their planned or finished research, or ideas on how to implement and use humour in applied settings, in any form they like.

Speakers and Lecture Topics

The speakers (and topics) this year include:


  • Salvatore Attardo, College of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts, Texas A&M University-Commerce, USA

*Recent Developments of the General Theory of Verbal Humor

*“Virtuous Circle” of Sustained Humor

  • Christie Davies, Department of Sociology, University of Reading, England

*Testing hypotheses about jokes; the ubiquitous jokes about stupidity

*The importance of history in the understanding of ethnic jokes: Jokes about the French and sex, the Italian army and Irish drinking

*The Appearance and Evolution of the Disaster Joke

*Why do Americans have jokes about lawyers and the old Soviet Union jokes about Party leaders

  • Sonja Heintz, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

*Validity studies of the Humor Styles Questionnaire

*Facial Action Coding System workshop (with Tracey Platt)

  • Christian Hempelmann, Department of Literature and Languages, Texas A&M University-Commerce, USA

*Laughter, no Humor: The 1962 Laughter Epidemic

*Puns are Phono-Semantics: Computers can do Half of it

*The Terminology of Humor and Laughter Across Languages

  • Moira Marsh, Arts and Humanities, Indiana University, USA

*The Rhetoric of Laughter and Unlaughter, or, Jokes and Their Consequences

*The Art of the Practical Joke

  • John Morreall, Religious Studies, College of William and Mary, USA

*Humor as Play, Laughter as Play Signal

*The Comic Vision of Life Vs. the Tragic Vision of Life

*Funny Business: Humor in the Workplace

  • Elliott Oring, Department of Anthropology, California State University, Los Angeles, USA

*Appropriate Incongruity and the Analysis of Humor.

*The Joke as a Literary Form

  • Tracey Platt, Psychology, University of Wolverhampton, UK

*Gelotophobia: the dark side of humour?

*Social Interactions with Humour and laughter introducing virtual agents

*Facial Action Coding System workshop (with Sonja Heintz)

  • Victor Raskin, English & Linguistics, Purdue University, USA

*World Knowledge in Humor and Beyond

  • Julia Rayz, Computer & Information Technology, Purdue University, USA

*Computational Humor: Theory & Practice

  • Graeme Ritchie, Department of Computing Science, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

*An introduction to humour research

*How to test theories of humour

*Riddles built by computer (workshop)

  • Willibald Ruch, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

*The comic styles profiler: Assessing forms of humor that not only tap into personality but also character and ability.

*Positive psychology and humor