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Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Science of Sarcasm? Yeah, Right


If I had another week, this would be a Blog assignment.

The Science of Sarcasm? Yeah, Right

Read it. And if your response is "Yeah, right" here are some of the key quotes from the article:
Studies have shown that exposure to sarcasm enhances creative problem solving...

An inability to understand sarcasm [by kindergarten] may be a sign of brain disease.

...23% if the time the phrase "yeah, right" was used [on the telephone], it was uttered sarcastically

Sarcasm seems to exercise the brain more than sincere statements do.

...brains have to work harder to understand sarcasm.

Richard Chin,, November 14, 2011
And more. Read the article. You can say "yeah, right." But read the article! And leave a comment here.


  1. Sarcastic much?!? That is something we say in my family all the time. I enjoyed the story about sarcasm. My favorite? The ending...
    "The University of Southern California’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory announced in 2006 that their “automatic sarcasm recognizer,” a set of computer algorithms, was able to recognize sarcastic versions of “yeah, right” in recorded telephone conversations more than 80 percent of the time. The researchers suggest that a computerized phone operator that understands sarcasm can be programmed to “get” the joke with “synthetic laughter.”

    Now that really would be a useful invention. Yeah, right."

    One of my favorite saying is "Bless your heart" - I don't mean it literally, it is a sarcastic way of saying "you poor thing, being so stupid to believe that..."

    This would have made an excellent blogging assignment! Maybe next semester?!

  2. I use sarcasm all day long. I never realized how often I used it until I read this article about sayings being used as the opposite as they mean. Reading this article taught me that using sarcasm is a great way to make the brain sharper. Children as young as 4 understand the sarcasm but many classmates didn't see it at all times. I think that it is all in how you were raised or what you were exposed to. I have a friend from Russia that has a really hard time understanding sarcasm. He asks why not just say what you mean. This would have been a good assignment; maybe it would have helped us understand that somethings we read to further our education is in the form of sarcasm.

  3. I use sarcasm quite a bit, myself, and never realized how much. I have four children and find myself saying, "How nice of you" or "That was awesome" to my kids when they do something wrong or are mean to their siblings. Until I read this article, I never realized how cruel I have sounded. I, too, use the phrases "big, deal" and "yeah, right" almost daily! I believe it is true that sarcasm exercises your mind harder, but it is not always appropriate to use.

    "The Greek root for sarcasm, sarkazein, means to tear flesh like dogs." It seems as though using sarcasm is mocking and hurtful to people. According to the article, if a person is sarcastic, they are being that way in order to be cool or make yourself feel superior to others.

    I also had no idea how young a child picked up the ability to understand when someone is being sarcastic. My own children understand my sarcasm to them, and respond accordingly. In the article a four year old said "smooth move, mom", at the mistake of a parent. This proves that when we are sarcastic to our children, that they will learn from us, and copy our actions.

    I really enjoyed reading the "pros" and "cons" of this article. It pointed out a lot of great points, facts, and opinions.

    Let's all get a Sarcasm Detection Device, it sure would make life easier! :)

  4. I think sarcasm has its place in conversation but has no place in a classroom. I won't be using it with my students. Children can recognize sarcasm but can also be confused by it.
    Personally, I think sarcasm can be rude and disrespectful. It is not a habit I want to pass on to my children or my students.

  5. I think that sarcasm should be used in setting that do not harm others. So many times people are sarcastic to hurt or back talk other people. This is not a good use of sarcasm. I do think that sarcasm gives our culture a little flair and encourages people to lighten up and in a world that is serious most of the time we can use those moments of sarcasm.

  6. I do not even know how many times a day that I am sarcastic. Probably a lot! Although I can say that I get really sarcastic with other drivers on the road...What can I say; road rage is a hard habit to break.
    I agree with Sarah Powell. I think sarcasm does have a place in certain settings, but sarcasm does not have a place in a more serious atmosphere. It is like what the article said about how we use sarcasm more often among our friends.

  7. I thought I was sarcastic every now and then but by reading this article I feel I'm a tad bit more than thought. Sarcasm as it states it a good way to help make the brain sharper. I had no clue children as young as 4 years old can understand the use of sarcasm. This almost makes you have to realize and be aware of what you say and how it is said. I think sarcasm does help people to loosen up or gain a sense of humor. The most important thing is to tell when it is sarcasm or when it is used. I find myself definitely saying "yeah right" a lot.

  8. Thanks for your comments! Now I know who reads the Class Blog regularly. Not many of you!

  9. I found the article very interesting. Who knew that just because we use sarcasm we are also more creative. I also found it neat that the greek root work of sarcasm means to tear flesh like a dog. I use sarcasm everyday and can't imagine not using it. Thanks for sharing!

  10. This article was quite interesting. Sarcasm is usually seen in a negative way, especially in my family. If I dared to say "yeah right" in a sarcastic way when I was younger, I would be grounded for being "rude." Reading about how it can help with understanding assignments and improve brain power is something I will now share with my parents. Sarcasm can be seen as being hurtful (like the article stated), but I think people just need to realize when it is appropriate and when it is not.

  11. I think it's important to understand sarcasm. My daughter and I use sarcasm on a daily basis, but not in a disrespectful way. We do it to be funny or to make light of a situation. However, I agree with Tricia -- it has no place in the classroom (elementary or college) and can be considered rude and disrespectful. Also, if some people don't "get" your sarcasm, maybe it's not them -- maybe it's you! If you really want someone to understand a message, speak clearly and concisely -- don't use sarcasm to present an important subject!

  12. Dr. Strange
    I see your comment..."Now I know who reads the Class Blog regularly. Not many of you!" and just want to say that I read it, the class blog and the article. I took my time leaving a comment only because I've been busy trying to get the rest of the assignments completed. That darn article was 3 pages long and then has the nerve to have the Simpsons as evidence of sarcasm, as if.

    Now, I must disagree with what Kelly and Tricia stated that it has no place in the classroom. I believe we need to teach our children about sarcasm and when and where to use it. It will come up in the workplace and (as I have seen evidence of it), if you don't know anything about it, you look like the fool because you don't get it when it is right in front of your face. Some of the most intelligent people in the world live a sarcastic life (if you get what I am saying) and are able to speak to anyone because they can relate. Don't fear what you don't understand. Learn about it and then choose to accept it or not but understand you may be missing out on a world of opportunities.