De flesta förknippar skratt med positiva upplevelser. Men det finns gelotofober, som tvärtom upplever skratt som en mycket obehaglig företeelse:
Gelotophobia may be considered as a specific variant of shame-bound anxiety. It is defined as the pathological fear of being an object of laughter. This fear can be traced back to early childhood experiences of intense and repeated exposure to ”put-down,” mockery and ridicule in the course of socialization. Gelotophobes constantly fear being screened by others for evidence of ridiculousness. Thus, they carefully avoid situations in which they feel exposed to others. Gelotophobia at its extreme, therefore, involves a pronounced paranoid tendency, a marked sensitivity to offense, and a resulting social withdrawal.
Gelotophobia is notably related to the interplay of three emotions: fear, shame and the low disposition to happiness.
Gelotofober har ett problematiskt förhållande till humor:
Results showed that gelotophobes are less cheerful and characterize their humor style as inept, socially cold, and mean-spirited. They report less frequent use of humor as a means for coping and indulge less often in self-enhancing and social humor.
Det finns dock ingen relation till IQ; däremot till upplevd IQ:
Taken together the studies show that gelotophobia is not related to intelligence but that gelotophobes tend to have lower self-estimations of their own abilities and underestimate their true ability (i.e., psychometrically measured) by 6 IQ-points.
Själv är jag inte gelotofob – utom möjligen när jag i offentlig miljö befinner mig nära gäng av tonårsflickor som viskar och skrattar sinsemellan. Jag inbillar mig alltid då att det är mig de skrattar åt.