Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Teasing is seen in animal play, hunting games, courtship, and playgrounds around the world. The tease stimulates curiosity, arousing tension without the intention of satisfaction. Among humans, teasing varies cross-culturally and has been mostly written about as a problematic behavior among children or as a range of speech-related art forms. Teasing can be nonverbal play of the body, verbal, or a musical imitation of the verbal tone: “Nah nyah, nah nah, nyah.” Teasing exposes someone's ability to be examined in public. It is a test of cool headedness and of one's place in the social order. The play theorist Johan Huizinga wrote of the tension in all play, whether it was a baby reaching, a cat swatting at yarn, or a child playing ball. Teasing escalates the tension, with the playing of peek-a-boo with baby, the moving of a string target, and the snagging of the ball. Strip teases, cheers, ...