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But since they are a, main source, even for some academic approaches, their simplified ac-, counts of the event dominate its reception. Sirois (1982), for example, observes that ‘‘[o]f, the 70 reviewed outbreaks [in Sirois 1974] 34 appea. The teaching staff, however, were not affected by the laughing but reported that it was impossible to work under those conditions so the school was forced to close down months later. ate. However, strange it may sound, the overdose of this medicine has also taken lives! also Benaim et al. Although I consider it unlikely, the possibility, of a viral infection can, of course, never be, Yet, in view of the further argumentation of th. population in particular, namely, separation from family, adolescence, and confrontation with Western educational and other, of these factors is more important, and which may not even pertain, and, which may have been overlooked, especially at the individual, mal group level, can no longer be clearly decided for, But I argue that a combination of these factors creates a stress-ind, context that is the indirect cause of the epidemic event described by Ran-, Although it is neither instrumental for the assessment of the veracity of, the reports on the Bukoba case, nor for the analysis of the role of laughter, in the event, a central point for the general understanding of the epidemic, as a case of MPI is the question for possible motives of the a¤ected, population. Supplementum, Laughing: Physiology, Pathophysiology, Psychology, Pathopsychology, and. sulted in aggressive-compulsive behavior or conversion hysteria’’ (1972: The high indication for MPI of the specific situation at boarding, schools in countries in transition is corroborated by the research on. 1973). Both cases are characterized by aimless running, general hypera, ity, as well as violence, and these symptoms, school populations in a pattern identical to the Bukoba event. school environment and then spread into the communities, under B. in subsection 3.1), where it lingered. (1985: 251) fo, nyan case, as follows: ‘‘outbreaks in Malaysia were detected in schools in, In sum, we find a transitional stress-inducing situati, country, which is in the process of consolidating, independence, in general and in the specific circumstances of the a¤ected. All rights reserved. To learn more or withdraw consent, please visit our cookie policy. “It was just a terrible work environment, nobody wanted to work at the DMV, they had particularly bad supervision there, and they just subconsciously found a way out of the situation that they could copy from each other,” says Hempelmann. So, it sounds merely impossible for one person to laugh one year non-stop, left alone entire population, making this phenomenon more confusing. as well as the generally assumed underlying causes: Based on these general observations, I will discuss, in turn, those charac-, teristics in more detail that are relevant for the, ‘‘the prevalence of illness is almost always higher in females than in, males.’’ (Boss 1997: 235). - Workshops (90 minutes) An example of a recent and similar incident is an instance of unexplained nausea and dizziness among students at a school in Lancashire, England this past November. demics are reported (cf. The most famous example of a laughter epidemic happened in Tanzania (then Tanganyika) in 1962, but this kind of psychological behavior happens on a weekly basis around the world, particularly among populations experiencing chronic stress. also Virani and Jain 2001). ture, psychopathological correlates, and cultural universality. of Rankin and Philip (1963), with additional interpretations of his own: The first symptoms appeared on January 30, when three girls started laughing. The muscles involved in the exhalation, usually not active in that part of the breathing cycle (, 2001: 432) and thus not well trained for it. On January 30th, three girls at a boarding school in Kashasha, Tanzania began laughing. And depending on where you read about it, the laughing epidemic lasted for anywhere from six months to a year-and-a-half.”. “You’re saying: You don’t have a valid disease, you don’t have an issue, you’re just being crazy because that gets you out of trouble.” The stigma is still there. 1975). If so, then ‘female,’ along with, ‘young’ and ‘poor,’ should be treated as a variable that signals ‘low social status,’, not some character flaw like ‘hysteria’ or ‘hypochondria.’ Perhaps the MPI symp-. Because of the high population in Africa, schools in their area are more prone to outbreaks of mass motor hysteria. It was a horrifying episode for the people in the area. It’s not always this way. The most detailed, sented, and original source will be presented in depth in the following, The aim of this paper is not to discredit the journalists, like Trump, (2002), who seems to have used the archive of his own paper that contains, Conley (1963), or Sebastian (2003), who interviewed this author at, presentation of the present research. Rather, Sirois identifies the Bukoba ep-, idemic as a case of ‘‘di¤use outbreak’’ (1982: 107) combining, pattern of closed and open settings: ‘‘Its prodromal stage is obscure, but, the epidemic spread starts in the typical explosive manner in a closed set-, ting, the school, but then spreads into the community, and the subsequent. I will return to the more general point that MPI is a, last resort to escape stress situations for pow. And though I did find information about a lot of aspects of comedy, I never would have expected this: The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962. Four months later in April, all of the neighboring regions had been affected, schools were closed and hundreds of children were in the streets laughing uncontrollably. Les épidémies d’hystérodémonopathies des couvents ont laissé place aux pathologies émergentes modernes qui permettent à certains sujets d’exprimer leur souffrance. The spread affected 48 girls. Also the task is to evaluate and assess, and to decide whether the work is a novel, or a book of memoirs, or a parody, or a lampoon, or a variation on imaginative themes, or psychological study; and to establish its predominant characteristics; whether the whole thing is a joke, or whether its importance lies in its deeper meaning, or whether it is just irony, sarcasm, ridicule . 3) the existing fund of knowledge (provided by the thought collective). But a more important variance is characterized by di¤erent types of, symptoms. But before I can turn to a summary of the, argument that leads to this conclusion, I want to briefly addres, tional research and explanatory attempts besides MPI th, ify what may have taken place in 1962 and what may not, both because, the explanations pertain to the case and because they are thought to per, A di¤erent and obviously oversimplified explanation is to declare, laughter involved in the Bukoba event to be pathological laughter of a, specific type reported in other cases (cf. Yet, reason may lie in the fact that in colonial settings, as in the Tanganyika, case, schools are the point of contact between the traditional local popu, tion 4.2) such a point of contact is also a point of friction, leading to, additional stress. Psychologists have primarily dealt with linguistic humor as an extension of the study of incongruity and its resolution (e.g., Shultz & Robillard, 1980; Suls, 1972).

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