“Since the IPH Center team is mostly remote, I look for different ways to stay connected and help build a culture.

One small attempt is by sharing a word — often obscure — but with some relevance to our work.”

 — Dr. John Lyons


This week I shared the word Risibility.

 People vary greatly on their risibility. My father basically laughed at everything. It was pretty much the only emotion with which he was comfortable. 

Some of us laugh at nothing and perhaps find the risibility of others a bit annoying. Although the First Nations/Indigenous version of the CANS has ‘Humor’ as a strength item, I’ve generally been hesitant to include humor as a concept in our general tools. Not because I think having a sense of humor is not a strength, I do. I think a healthy sense of humor is important to resiliency for many people. However, the application of defining whether someone has a sense of humor is challenging. There is just so much variation in what people find funny. For example, I like to laugh, but I never found Seinfeld funny. Millions of people found that show to be hilarious. Notable cultural variation in what people find funny exists. If we just focus on risibility rather than attempting to identify what stimuli lead to laughter, do we escape that trap?   

My question to the collaborative is do you think risibility is a skill or a trait of some hybrid of the two? Should we find a way to make the ability to laugh a strength? Or is it too fraught with judgment and individual differences? We would love to hear your thoughts.

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