You remember the laughing tracks every time Chandler cracked a joke? Well, there were times when you thought that a few of them were not really funny. But wait! You heard people in the background laugh, and now you see yourself fake laughter too!
Did you get it yet?
Well, do you remember laughing when Maya Sarabhai started listing out every “down market” characteristic of Monisha?
And there were times when you laughed at Indravardhan’s joke about Roshesh’s poem, just because a few people were giggling in the background.
Well, this huge trick pulled by the makers of these shows has a name, it is called ‘The Pull Of Conformity’.
Here is the psychology behind this concept: Conformity is defined as the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms. We tend to change our behaviour according to the majorly followed behaviour seen around us.
For example, while eating lunch in a group you might unconsciously or consciously prefer eating your rice with a spoon just because it is a practice followed by the majority of people.
The ‘laughter track’ played in the background becomes a subtle unconscious influence which leads to you believe that the pun was indeed funny.
As much as we think of ourselves to be individuals, we do try to ‘fit-in’. Thus once the conformity is established, it starts a snowball effect.
This laughter track helps create an illusion that we are a part of a “collective audience” and are eventually tricked.
Give it a thought the next time you are about to ‘go with the flow’!