An analysis of what teasing teaches us.
Hierarchies have many benefits — the smooth division of labor and resources, protecting weaker members of the group — but they can be deadly to negotiate. Male fig wasps chop their rivals in half with their large mandibles.
Teasing can be thought of as a status contest with a twist.
As a status contest, teasing must walk a fine line, designating status while enhancing social connection.
Each tease turned out to be a 30-second morality play.
Where teasing provides an arena to safely explore conflict, it can join people in a common cause.
To tease is to woo wisely.
Studies find that married couples with a rich vocabulary of teasing nicknames and formulaic insults are happier and more satisfied.
Teasing actually serves as an antidote to toxic criticism that might otherwise dissolve an intimate bond.
Our rush to banish teasing from social life has its origins in legitimate concerns about bullies on the playground and at work.