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Paradoxical laughter is an exaggerated expression of humour which is unwarranted by external events. It may be uncontrollable laughter which may be recognised as inappropriate by the person involved. It is associated with altered mental states or mental illness, such as mania, hypomania or schizophrenia, and can have other causes.
Paradoxical laughter is indicative of an unstable mood, often caused by the pseudobulbar affect, which can quickly change to anger and back again, on minor external cues.
This type of laughter can also occur at times when the fight-or-flight response may otherwise be evoked.
See also 
- Frijda, Nico H. (1986). The Emotions. Cambridge University Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-521-31600-6. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
- Rutkowski, Anne-Françoise; Rijsman, John B.; Gergen, Mary (2004). "Paradoxical Laughter at a Victim as Communication with a Non-victim". International Review of Social Psychology 17 (4): 5–11. ISSN 0992-986X. Retrieved 2009-11-14. (French biobliographical record with French translation of abstract)