Laughing alone and laughing together in panel meetings: laughter as an interactional accomplishment during negotiation talks

İÇBAY M. A., Koschmann T.

HUMOR-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMOR RESEARCH, vol.35, no.4, pp.617-641, 2022 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/humor-2022-0013
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Communication Abstracts, Linguistic Bibliography, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Psycinfo, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.617-641
  • Keywords: conversation analysis, ethnomethodology, laughter, negotiation talk, shared laughter
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


This paper is about the interactional organization of shared laughter in a multi-party institutional setting. It explored how laughter was produced and shared in a series of panel meetings in a medical school. The audio data were taken from Competency Project, a NIHM-funded (National Institute of Mental Health) research designed to investigate how the judgments of professional competence in medical schools were constructed. In the panel meetings, a group of three panelists (physician-instructors) gathered together and came to an agreement for the medical students' performances with the standard patients. While they negotiated their individual ratings, the panelists repeatedly laughed. Finding its interest in these repeated laughs, this study first displayed how laughter was produced and shared in a formal institutional setting. The second section in the paper gave a detailed account of the three cases where at least a panelist in the meetings did not join in the shared laughter sequences. The closer look at these cases suggested that when at least a panelist did not participate in the shared laughter, (1) the non-laughing panelists were mitigating the tension rooted in the disagreement on the negotiated rating, or (2) they were postponing their laugh to create a follow-up laughable, or (3) due to the conflict on the individual ratings, they were teased by the other panelists.