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Enjoying and fearing laughter: Personality characteristics of gelotophobes, gelotophiles, and katagelasticists

"People differ in the way they deal with ridicule," Rene T. Proyer and Willibald Ruch report (in Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling 2/2010). Their study "examines the personality correlates of those who fear being laughed at (gelotophobes), those who enjoy being laughed at (gelotophiles) and those who enjoy laughing at others (katagelasticists).

Gelotophobes do not interpret laughter by others as something positive but more as a mean to put them down. Gelotophiles enjoy being laughed at and interpret the laughter by others positively, as a sign of appreciation. Katagelasticists enjoy laughing at others and do not feel that there is anything wrong in doing so. 

In an empirical study (N = 394), gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism were related to the PEN-model. Gelotophobes were found to be introverted neurotics. Gelotophilia was primarily related to extraversion and in a multiple regression analysis gender (higher among males) turned out to be predictive as well. Katagelasticists were found to be younger males with higher scores in extraversion and psychoticism. Overall, in a regression analysis the content scales of the short form of the EPQ-R predicted gelotophobia best, but gelotophilia and katagelasticism also yielded robust relations".

Key words: gelotophobia, gelotophilia, humor, katagelasticism, PEN-model, ridicule

Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling 2/2010