Smile Power: Lawrence University Psychologist Dicusses Laughter as a Coping Mechanism in Science Hall Colloquium

Lawrence University psychologist Matthew Ansfield discusses his latest research on the paradox of positive facial expressions, such as smiling, in response to anxiety-provoking events Tuesday, May 24 in the Science Hall Colloquium “When Laughter is (and is not!) the Best Medicine.” The presentation, at 4:15 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102, is free and open to the public.

Ansfield will discuss the findings of studies he has conducted, as well as the research of others, on the use of laughter and humor as a coping mechanism when dealing with potentially distressing situations. The presentation will focus on what his research reveals about how laughter and humor can, at times, be beneficial both to people’s emotional and physical well-being as they attempt to cope with negative life experiences.

As a social psychologist, Ansfield specializes in the fields of nonverbal behavior and mental control of thought and action. In addition, he has written broadly on the subject of lies, deception and deception detection.

He joined the Lawrence psychology department in 2000 after spending three years on the faculty at Southern Methodist University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Virginia.