Humor and Fear

Project title: Humor and Fear

Size of group: 1

Mehdi Farahani


Figure 1: Woodcut print, 15 * 11 inches, Created by Mehdi Farahani


Project description

Studies show the benefits of laughter in combating stress. Laughter reduces tension and stress by relaxing muscles. ” The psychology of humour does include the function of coping before the presence of fear. According to the original formulation of the EPPM, fear control processes are defined as primarily emotional processes where people respond to and cope with their fear, not to the danger. As such, humour may be considered a legitimate coping response, and thus a fear control response.” [1]  Some psychologists suggest laughing to deal with fear. Gina Barreca believes Humor addresses the same issues as fear, not to dismiss them, but to strengthen our ability to confront them and then laugh them away from the door.[2]

My 3rd experiment is an interactive installation. I intended to look at Humor and Fear from my own perspective. Only a handful of people may not have seen Edvard Munch’s Scream painting. This experiment is inspired by the scream painting of Edvard Munch. Munch wrote in his diary in January 1892: ” One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The colour shrieked. This became The Scream.” [3]

I thought that no artwork as beautiful as the scream of Munch could represent fear. So I manipulated his painting by using my personal style in drawing. I drew Munch’s painting once again and printed it on cardboard (Figure 2-3). But this time I considered two situations: Laughter and Fear.

The colours black and white are inspired by my perception of fear, stress and darkness, as well as peace, light and brightness. I chose the footsteps to indirectly say we should change our spot (one step forward or one step backward) to reconceptualize or reevaluate our perception of fear.

I used two F.S.R sensors: one for sound and image of laughter and the other for the sound and image of fear. I mounted the sensors on the cardboard I had prepared before. I designed them like shoe pads and placed them on the floor. When you stand on the first pad (Black pad), the sensor will be activated and the screaming sound, sound waves and the scream image will be loaded on the screen. When you change your position and go one step further (White pad), laughter sound and image will be activated on the screen. (Figure 4) Unfortunately I could not find a perfect sound effect for laughter. But I will replace it with a better sound in the future.

1-2     2-2

Figure 2-3: Woodcut print, 15 * 11 inches, Created by Mehdi Farahani


Figure 4: Project screenshots (4 steps), laughter and fear 


Figure 5: Breadboard circuit


Figure 6: Mounting of F.S.R sensor


Figure 7: Mounting of F.S.R sensor







GitHub link

Circuit diagram



1- Eulàlia P. Abril, Glen Szczypka, and Sherry L. Emery,(2017), LMFAO! Humour as a Response to Fear: Decomposing Fear Control within the Extended Parallel Process Model,

2- Barreca. Gina, (2013), Laughing at the Scary Stuff: Humor and Fear, Psychology Today.

    Posted April 1, 2013,

3- The Mysterious Road From Edvard Munch’s The Scream