Magazine article Work & Family Life

Teasing Is Social Glue When the Laughter Is Shared

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Teasing Is Social Glue When the Laughter Is Shared

Article excerpt

Research Review

Teasing can be mean-spirited or it can be playful. Done in a positive way, it can also be a valuable social tool, says psychologist Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., of the University of California at Berkeley. Here are some of the findings from his 10-year study, as reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

* Teasing can walk the fine line between aggression and play. The playful part reminds the "teasee" that he or she is loved despite a particular flaw, or perhaps even because of it. The aggression part is the criticism, which can be threatening.

* Teasing is an effective way to probe the limits of a relationship or the aspects of another person's character. You can always pull back onto safer ground by saying, "I'm just teasing."

* Teasing between friends, lovers or parents and children makes people like each other even more. The more satisfied individuals are in their relationships, the more playful their teasing. …

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