M. I. Evelina Rutdal, a SNC Psychology major and 2013 graduate, has submitted her work for review at an empirical journal called the International Journal of Humor Research. The study is entitled “The Impact of Self Induced Laughter on Psychological Stress” and the abstract is included below.
This is a particular achievement as Evelina is the first student in the history of our program to challenge herself beyond publication in an undergraduate research journal. While any publication is to be celebrated and publication in undergraduate research journal is to be revered, Evelina has set a new bar for SNC Psychology majors!
Evelina says: “Everyone who has tackled a project like an experiment knows the great deal of blood, sweat, and tears that go into it and, at times, it can seem overwhelming. What I can say now at the end of the process is that it has all been worth it. I have experienced a new world where I can do anything I set my mind to. If I can accomplish this, what can I not do? It’s a eye opening process.”
Authors: M. I. Evelina Rutdal, B.A., and Christina M. Frederick, Ph.D.
Title: The Impact of Self Induced Laughter on Psychological Stress
Abstract: American stress levels rose 39% in 2011 (APA, 2011). Research shows laughter produces endorphins that decrease health risks (e.g., MacDonald, 2008) but has primarily considered laughter produced by comic events (e.g., Ko & Youn, 2011). The current study examined the impact of self induced laughter on psychological stress. Undergraduates (33 males and 27 females) were randomly paired and assigned to laugh or read aloud. Following, participants completed a stress inducing activity (adapted from Försvarsmakten, 2013). During this activity, participants listened to and recorded answers from a soundtrack, sorted cards, and paired information. After stress induction, participants completed the Emotional Stress Reaction Questionnaire (ESRQ; Larsson, 2010) followed by a relaxation exercise. ESRQs were sorted by laughter or reading group and scored. General linear modeling indicated no significant difference in psychological stress between laughter and reading conditions (p = 0.980). No significant difference in psychological stress was found between genders (p = 0.767). Generally, the findings indicate self induced laughter prior to a stressful event does not decrease psychological stress.