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October 10, 2000

UMBC PROFESSOR TO EXAMINE THE SCIENCE OF LAUGHTER AT SMITHSONIAN FORUM

UMBC Psychology professor and noted laughter expert Bob Provine will discuss the roots and causes of laughter and sign copies of his new book, "Laughter: a Scientific Investigation," as part of a forum sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution on Oct. 11.

Provine is the world's leading expert on the physiology, psychology and sociology behind such involuntary human behaviors as laughter and yawning. His research has been profiled by The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC News' "20/20," PBS TV's "Scientific American Frontiers," American Scientist, Newsday, and The San Francisco Chronicle, New Scientist and Discover.

Provine has spent over 10 years studying how and when people laugh, why laughter is contagious, and the significance of why humans laugh differently than our primate cousins. His work has shown how the study of laughter gives clues about the origins of human speech and why efforts to teach chimpanzees to communicate verbally have failed.

"Laughter is really not about humor," said Provine. "It's about social situations. And it's one of the more common, but neglected, human behaviors."

Provine will make a presentation, and then engage the audience in a discussion and book signing as part of the Smithsonian's forum "But Seriously Folks...What is Laughter?" The event coincides with the release two days earlier of Provine's new book "Laughter, A Scientific Investigation," published by Viking Press. The forum takes place on Wednesday, October 11, 2000, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art (7th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC.)

Posted by dwinds1 at October 10, 2000 12:00 AM