Robert R. Provine, Ph.D.

Research Professor

Professor Emeritus





Ph.D. Psychology, Washington University (St. Louis), 1971

Area of Study:

Developmental neuroscience, neuroethology, laughter/humor, group behavior

Courses Taught:

Introductory psychology, Developmental Psychology, Physiological Psychology,

Comparative Psychology, Sensation and Perception, Developmental Neuroscience,

Before We Are Born, Biological Bases of Behavior Development, Curious Behavior

Selected Publications:

Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond. R. R. Provine (Belknap/Harvard) (2012).

Laughter: A Scientific Investigation R. R. Provine  (Viking/Penguin) (2000).

The emotional eye: Scleral redness as a uniquely human cue of emotion. R. R. Provine,

J. Nave-Blodgett, and M. O. Cabrera. Ethology (2013), 119, 99 3-998.

Tearing: Breakthrough in human emotional signaling. R. R. Provine, K. A. Krosnowski,

and N. W. Brocato. Evolutionary Psychology (2009), 7, 52-56.

Emoticons punctuate website text messages. R. R. Provine, R. J. Spencer, and D. L. Mandell.

Journal of Language and Social Psychology (2007), 26, 299-307.

Laughter among deaf signers. R. R. Provine and K. Emmorey. Journal of Deaf Studies and

Deaf Education (2006), 11, 403-409.

Laughing, tickling, and the evolution of speech and self. R. R. Provine. Current Directions in

Psychological Science (2004), 13, 115-218.

Structural electrophysiological properties of nymphal and adult insect medicine neurosecretary cells an in Vitro analysis. R.R.Provine. Brain Research, 78 (1974) 359-376. Click here to view publication.

Development of spinal cord bioelectric activity in spinal chick embryos and its behavioral implications. R.R Provine. Journal of neurobiology, Vol.8 , No.3, PP 217-228. Click here to view publication.

Emergence of geometric patterns in insect nerve nets: an in vitro analysis. R.R Provine. Brain Research, 80(1974) 328-334. Click here to view publication.

Hatching behavior of the chick (Gallus doemsticus):  Plasticity of the rotator component*- R.R Provine. Psychon, Sci., 1972, Vol.29 (1). Click here to view publication.

Laughing, Smiling and Talking: Relation to sleeping and social context in humans- R.R Provine. Ethology 83, 295-305(1989). Click here to view publication.

Laughter: A stereotyped human vocalization – R.R. Provine. Ethology 89, 115-124 (1991). Click here to view publication.

Neural correlates of embryonic motility in the chick- R.R. Provine. Brian Research, 45 (1972) 127-134. Click here to view publication.

Shift in the peak of the Photopic Styles-Crawford function with marked accommodation – R.R. Provine. Vision Res. Vol. 15. PP 499-507. Click here to view publication.

Spontaneous bioelectric activity in long term cultures of the embryonic insect central nervous system central nervous systemR.R Provine. Brain Research, 56(1973) 364-370. Click here to view publication.


American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow)

Association for Psychological Science (Fellow)

Writing Awards:

Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond (2012)

PROSE Award, Best Biomedicine and Neuroscience Book of 2012 (Association of American Publishers)

BEST BOOKS of 2012 (Library Journal)

Essay in Best American Science Writing 2006 (Anthology)

Essay in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 (Anthology)