The audiovisual perception of laughter : the influence of the laughing face upon the laughter sound
Generally, the thesis reports on a series of eight experiments investigating how
the face is communicating laughter, when using spontaneous and dynamic laughter clips.
More specifically, the experiments are investigating how the laughing face may aid the
ability to hear the laughter sound: an audiovisual laughter effect. The basic methodology
was borrowed from the area of audiovisual speech perception, a well established area of
research investigating how the speaking face aids the ability to hear the spoken word.
Evidence for audiovisual laughter perception was found in each of the eight experiments.
However, another question was how the face is aiding the ability to hear the laughter
sound. Experiments one and two simultaneously investigated into the possibility of
configurational processing in audiovisual laughter. Some evidence was found to this
effect in experiment two but not experiment one. Experiments three, four and five
simultaneously investigated into the possibility of featural processing in audiovisual
laughter. Evidence was found to this effect in each experiment. Experiments six, seven
and eight simultaneously investigated into the possibility that dynamic information,
rather than static information is intrinsic to the audiovisual laughter effect. Evidence in
favour of this possibility was found in each experiment. Overall, the data would appear
to suggest the moving mouth is the single most salient feature for audiovisual laughter,
with particular importance given to the moving featural detail of the intra-oral region.
However, if this information is missing, the remaining parts of the moving laughing face
are still able to aid the hearing of the laughter sound. Future research is necessary to further highlight the processes of the new perceptual phenomenon of audio visual