Constructing cohesion through laughter

Gillian Hendry, Sally Wiggins, Tony Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndependent in the Heard: Inclusion and Exclusion as Social Processes
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings from the 9th GRASP conference, Linköping University, May 2014
EditorsRobert Thornberg, Tomas Jungert
Place of PublicationLinköping
PublisherLinköping University Electronic Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9789175192178
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventGroup and Social Psychology Conference 2014: Independent in the Heard: Inclusion and Exclusion as Social Processes - Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Duration: 22 May 201423 May 2014

Publication series

NameLinköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
PublisherLinköping University Electronic Press
ISSN (Print)1650-3686
ISSN (Electronic)1650-3740


ConferenceGroup and Social Psychology Conference 2014
Abbreviated titleGRASP 2014


  • group work
  • discursive psychology
  • laughter
  • cohesion


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