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    Laughter.—In the Fortnightly Review for August J. A. T. Lloyd considers the problem of humour and mechanism. Bergson in his well-known study, “Le Rire,” maintains the hypothesis that the essence of humour lies in the mechanisation of what ought to be spontaneous and not mechanical. The function of laughter is to punish and so to prevent the repetition of machine-like behaviour. The author of this paper criticises this point of view as being more true of Latin humour than of Anglo-Saxon and supports the theory that in the case of the latter, laughter is rather due to a feeling of superiority. He thinks, however, that recently a change has taken place, and that in Mr. Stephen Leacock's humour we approximate to humour as sensed by Bergson; he detects automata masquerading as human beings and we laugh, but not with the old laughter of superiority. A more fundamental treatment of the subject of laughter will be found in Psyche (vol. ii. No. 4), where Prof. McDougall develops at. greater length a theory he put forward in Naturesome years ago. He believes that the theories usually advanced fail to answer the question, For what end did the human species acquire the capacity for laughter? Man is endowed naturally with the tendency to share the emotions of others, when he sees them expressed by them in action, thus rendering himself extremely susceptible to the suffering he sees around him. Were he to suffer sympathetically every pain he saw, he would very rapidly devitalise himself; hence he has developed a compensatory mechanism whereby he laughs at the pains and sufferings which are not serious or with which he can have no concern. Laughter is then primarily and fundamentally the antidote to sympathetic pain. It is necessary to distinguish laughter from the smile which is the natural expression of pleasure.

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