The science of sarcasm

Sarcasm makes you smarter, or something like that.

Unlike irony which ruins everything, sarcasm is not only fun, it's also scientific! As reported in the NY Times, a new study explains where sarcasm resides in your brain.

What you may not have realized is that perceiving sarcasm, the smirking put-down that buries its barb by stating the opposite, requires a nifty mental trick that lies at the heart of social relations: figuring out what others are thinking. Those who lose the ability, whether through a head injury or the frontotemporal dementias afflicting the patients in Dr. Rankin's study, just do not get it when someone says during a hurricane, "Nice weather we're having."

"A lot of the social cognition we take for granted and learn through childhood, the ability to appreciate that someone else is being ironic or sarcastic or angry -- the so-called theory of mind that allows us to get inside someone else's head -- is characteristically lost very early in the course of frontotemporal dementia," said Dr. Bradley F. Boeve, a behavioral neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

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About the author

Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.

 

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