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Researchers Pinpoint Brain's Sarcasm Sensor 472

LibertarianWackJob writes "Researchers have found the section of the human brain that is responsible for understanding sarcasm. " I'm sure the comments on this story will be incredibly insightful.
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Researchers Pinpoint Brain's Sarcasm Sensor

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  • Error (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:16PM (#12616503)
    My brain is obviously not equipped to handle this story.
  • Problems (Score:5, Funny)

    by suso ( 153703 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:16PM (#12616506) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure the comments on this story will be incredibly insightful.

    Not really, this one will be modded as funny. Oh wait.. you were being sarcastic.
    • Re:Problems (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Gabrill ( 556503 )
      Narf! Oh Brain, you're so silly! Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
    • Re:Problems (Score:5, Funny)

      by At0miC ( 7174 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:47PM (#12616951)
      "Here comes that cannonball guy. He's cool."
      "Are you being sarcastic, dude?"
      "I don't even know anymore."
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Winckle ( 870180 ) <mark @ w i n c k l e . c o.uk> on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:17PM (#12616514) Homepage
    What a really useful discovery.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by dmaduram ( 790744 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @04:30PM (#12617406) Homepage
      Actually, parent's post is pretty insightful -- if you encounter a person with a prefrontal cortex lesion , the *last* thing you'll notice about their condition is their inability to understand sarcasm.

      From Fix's High-Yield Neuroanatomy: "Destruction of the anterior two-thirds of the frontal lobe convexity results in deficits in concentration, orientation, abstracting ability, judgment, and problem-solving ability. Other frontal lobe deficits include loss of initiative, inappropriate behavior, release of sucking and grasping reflexes, gait apraxia, sphincteric incontinence . . . and inappropriate social behavior (e.g., use of obscene language, urinating in public)"

      I volunteered in a psych ward during undergrad, and people with prefrontal cortex lesions are among the most difficult patients to interact with on a daily basis.
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

      by Andy Gardner ( 850877 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @05:29PM (#12617970)
      Sarcastic Guy: Ooh, a fat sarcastic Star Trek fan, you must be a devil with the ladies!
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:17PM (#12616517)
    Report being unable to confirm the discovery of the region in American subjects.

    Man, I'm on *fire* today!

    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:27PM (#12616720)
      Clearly not, careful observers would note that both our elections and our candidates for elections are clearly the product of great sarcasm.

      "Yes, put JUNIOR up there, he'd be a GREAT president!"

      "Hey, what the country will vote for is a Massachusetts democrat, Dukakis did great after all!".

      The problem is that such comments are taken literally by the bodies responsible for choosing candidates. I think perhaps our political parties are brain damaged, but then I'm being redundant.

    • non-American Culture (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtconner ( 544309 )
      Well, seriously though.. what of different cultures besides American Culture? When I went to China we were told not to use sarcasm to the people we interacted with. It was not a part of their culture and sense of humor to be sarcastic, and therefore they would not understand our sarcasm at all.
      • that would make them even more sensitive to sarcasm, right? :P

        valid point, nonetheless. but i'm pretty sure neuroscientists/psychologists try to create controlled conditions in their experiments, and therefore wouldn't mix American and Chinese subjects in such a study.
      • by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:47PM (#12616947) Homepage Journal
        I went to China and they caught sarcasm just fine.

        Probably just told you that just so you didn't commit a cultural faux-pas.

        Oh, hmm, this topic is on sarcasm, so anything I write will automatically be interpreted backwards But wait, that means that your post meant that actually the Chinese got sarcasm just fine, which means I don't need to post this....

        Oh hell, I'm submitting it anyway.
      • Being married to a Chinese woman I assure you this is not true. Sarcasm is alive and well in China. Your instructions about use of sarcasm may have been given for your own best interests, but not because the concept does not exist.

        If you're spending your time trying to understand what someone is saying you sometimes don't also catch the queue that he's being sarcastic. Similarly, at least speaking chinese, you have to be careful with how you change your inflections. "Our" sarcasm, which usually relies on e
    • One can only pray.
    • by endofoctober ( 660252 ) <jk@cole.ifredsayred@com> on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:45PM (#12616928) Homepage
      "Man, I'm on *fire* today!"

      ...and that would be tragic, now wouldn't it.

  • by brilinux ( 255400 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:17PM (#12616520) Journal
    I'm sure the comments on this story will be incredibly insightful.

    He cannot be serious.

  • Yeah, (Score:2, Funny)

    by 2names ( 531755 )
    Sure they have...
  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:17PM (#12616522) Homepage
    Of course a study with around 25 brain damaged people watching movies is a perfect reason to make phrenological claims.
    • Of course a study with around 25 brain damaged people watching movies is a perfect reason to make phrenological claims.

      Do I detect a hint of sarcasm in that voice? *smiles*

    • Re:Of course (Score:3, Interesting)

      by UWC ( 664779 )
      Ignoring your perfect example of text-based sarcasm at work there, the study seemed to go a little beyond phrenological conjecture. The study indicated that those with damage to an area of the brain associated with empathy had trouble distinguising between the intents of identically phrased statements, one of which had a literal implication, the other sarcastic.

      A personal query for any neuroscientists reading: The article uses "prefrontal area" and "prefrontal lobe", and a portion of the article paraphras

  • Yeah, sure, like THAT will be useful.
  • by Savatte ( 111615 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:18PM (#12616534) Homepage Journal
    "ooohh, a sarcasm detector. That's REALLY useful" - Comic Book Guy
    • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:48PM (#12616960)
      [the character of SARCASTIC GUY is read in a voice that it just absolutely dripping with sarcasm in everything he says]

      DEREK: Great party, huh? I actually don't know anyone at the party, actually, I'm kinda new to the neighborhood, actually, but my friend Chris said "come to the party, I'll introduce you around, you'll know everybody by the time you leave the party." Chris knows everybody, and soon I'll know everybody! 'Course, Chris didn't show up. So I guess I gotta mingle. So here I am mingling! 'Course, mingling really isn't my game, I'm not really a mingler, per se, I was actually in the corner alone mingling - that means I'm not talking to anyone, actually. I saw you over here, I said "there's a guy by himself, why not go over here, I'll mingle with this guy, this guy looks like a mingler," so hi, I'm Derek, pleased to meet you.

      SARCASTIC GUY: Well it certainly is a pleasure to meet YOU, Derek.

      DEREK: ...I'm sorry if I bothered you.

      SARCASTIC GUY: Oh no, you're not bothering me, Derek, far from it. There's nothing I would rather do than just stand here and chat with you! Y'know - really get to know you?

      DEREK: Look, I don't think there's any need to be sarcastic.

      SARCASTIC GUY: Oh, I'm not being sarcastic! NOOOO! This is just a little speech impediment. I can't help it!

      DEREK: Okay, I've obviously said or done something wrong to upset you, I'm just gonna apologize and be on my way.

      SARCASTIC GUY: No, no, no, please stay. It's true. I've talked this way all my life. It's made things very difficult for me.

      DEREK: Yeah! Right!

      SARCASTIC GUY: Hey! Where ya goin'? Come back! I really wanna be your friend. I'm so lonely.

  • and ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by PrvtBurrito ( 557287 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:18PM (#12616539)
    And I'm sure that editorial comments on this article will be informative.
  • For those WITHOUT damage to the prefrontal area , it really is! *grin*
  • +1 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ibanez ( 37490 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:18PM (#12616544)
    To my respect level for CmdrTaco. Quite the funny comment.
  • This is... (Score:3, Funny)

    by caudron ( 466327 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:19PM (#12616545) Homepage
    ...definately stuff that matters. :-|
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:19PM (#12616558) Homepage Journal
    Now everyone else in my life can get a sarcasm transplant so they will quit looking at me funny all the time.

    In fact, once all the sarcastically deficient have been identified, we will need to lobby to get the sarcastic brain chunk added to the list of donor organs so that everyone can have the opportunity to lead a normal sarcastic life. Be an organ donor, only you can give the gift of sarcasm.

    • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @04:29PM (#12617390) Journal
      Heh I have that problem too. The thing I don't get about the article is the connection of sarcasm to empathy. I mean I'm a very sarcastic person, and sometimes I unknowingly hurt someones feelings with it. If sarcasm required lots of empathy, I should be able to tell when I've crossed the line, right?
  • ... that it was lost? Google I suppose came to the rescue?
  • Are replacement implants going to be available any time soon?
  • Sarchasm (Score:5, Funny)

    by poppageek ( 115260 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:21PM (#12616579)
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
  • The researchers think lesions in several parts of the brain can contribute to an inability to understand sarcasm. But, they wrote, this particular area is important because it draws on your innate recognition of the emotions of other people -- empathy -- and past experiences to comprehend a speaker's intentions.

    So everone who wants to read Slashdot should get checked out with an MRI. Lesions automatically disqualify membership. Although AC posts will be grandfathered.
  • by Webs 101 ( 798265 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:21PM (#12616591) Homepage
    Like that ever happens....

    Researchers Pinpoint Brain's Sarcasm Sensor
    By Randy Dotinga
    HealthDay Reporter

    MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Oh yeah, right!

    No, it's true -- many of you don't go a day without dishing out several doses of sarcasm. But some brain-damaged people can't comprehend sarcasm, and Israeli researchers think it's because a specific brain region has gone dark.

    The region, according to the researchers, handles the task of detecting hidden meaning, a crucial component of sarcasm. If that part of the brain is out of commission, the irony doesn't come through, the scientists report in the May issue of Neuropsychology.

    "People with prefrontal brain damage suffer from difficulties in understanding other people's mental states, and they lack empathy," said study co-author Simone Shamay-Tsoory, a researcher at the University of Haifa. "Therefore, they can't understand what the speaker really is talking about, and get only the literal meaning."

    The findings, Shamay-Tsoory said, could help rehabilitation centers do a better job of helping brain-damaged patients adjust to the world and understand other people.

    In their study, Shamay-Tsoory and her colleagues first enrolled 58 subjects -- 25 participants with prefrontal-lobe damage, 17 who were healthy and 16 who had damage to the posterior lobe of the brain.

    Then they tested each person by exposing them to several "neutral" and sarcastic comments recorded by actors as part of a story. This "sarcasm meter" was designed to gauge how well the subjects could comprehend the unique kind of irony that is sarcasm.

    For example, actors read phrases such as "don't work too hard" in both a neutral sense (meaning "you're a hard worker") and a sarcastic sense (meaning "you're a real slacker"). Each comment came in proper context as part of a story about, say, a worker who's sleeping or a worker who's grinding away at his job.

    All the subjects understood the sarcasm except for those with damage to the prefrontal area, which is above the eye sockets and behind the forehead. And among those, people with damage to a specific area known as the ventromedial area had the most trouble deciphering sarcasm.

    The researchers think lesions in several parts of the brain can contribute to an inability to understand sarcasm. But, they wrote, this particular area is important because it draws on your innate recognition of the emotions of other people -- empathy -- and past experiences to comprehend a speaker's intentions.

    Brian Knutson, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, said the findings make sense because the brain's cortex handles a variety of sophisticated tasks, and sarcasm could be on the list.

    The findings also reflect a growing interest in how emotion is processed by the brain. "Emotion has not been a popular topic in science for a long time," because it's difficult to measure, he said, but things are changing.

  • by yotto ( 590067 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:21PM (#12616594) Homepage
    Scientists also located the area of the brain responsibile for gullibility, and they now have a procedure to remove that section of your brain.
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by V_drive ( 522339 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:21PM (#12616595)
    CBG: Oh yeah, everyone's real happy then.
    Lyndsey Nagle: Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
    Frink: (With sarcasm detector) Are you kidding? This baby is off
    the charts mm-hai.
    CBG: A sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invention.
    (Sarcasm detector explodes)
  • Asperger's as well? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Amoeba ( 55277 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:22PM (#12616601)
    The researchers think lesions in several parts of the brain can contribute to an inability to understand sarcasm. But, they wrote, this particular area is important because it draws on your innate recognition of the emotions of other people -- empathy -- and past experiences to comprehend a speaker's intentions.

    Wouldn't this also be applicable to people with Asperger's Syndrome? If this research is correct then sarcasm must be especially difficult for Aspergerians (is that even a word?)

    Note to self: When Bram Cohen asks how you are doing, do not reply "I so great you should kill me now so I can die happy."

    • by Spectre ( 1685 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:34PM (#12616797)
      A family member has been diagnosed with mild autism (Asperger's is a specific diagnosis within the broad spectrum of autism) and I can say that this member of my family completely misses any sarcastic comment that hasn't been specifically pointed out as being non-literal in an earlier conversation.

      So yes, I'd say the research might very well apply to Asperger's in some way or another.
  • I'm sure the comments on this story will be incredibly insightful.
    Does my ventromedial area detect a bit of sarcasm there? No really, tell me. I can't tell.
  • From the article:
    ...some brain-damaged people can't comprehend sarcasm

    w00t! I SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! So much has been explained to my fragile little mind...
  • by LithiumX ( 717017 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:22PM (#12616616)
    And quickly following today's findings, it has now been verified that the Sarcasm Cortex has only been detected in male subjects so far. It is not yet clear if female subjects possess this neural hardware, though most researchers don't hold out a great deal of hope on the matter.

    Being anatomically associated with what is loosely referred to in scientific circles as "The Grunt Lobe", the recently identified cortical area believed to allow males to translate short gutteral sounds into complex syntactical commentary, these are potential examples of male neurological development.
  • Perhaps this is the reason why they don't have sarcasm on Betelgeuse (according to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy); their brains lack the sensor to detect it. (In Mostly Harmless, Ford has to ask Arthur, "This is that thing you call sarcasm, isn't it?")
  • ...otherwise I might have thought that the submitter's editorial was funny.
  • this particular region of the brain is shown to be under-developed in most US citizens.
  • by Jadsky ( 304239 )
    Amazingly, you were the only one to think of that joke. [linkbunnies.org]
  • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:25PM (#12616678)
    Dave: Oh no, you're not bothering me, Derek, far from it. There's nothing I would rather do than just stand here and chat with you. You know, really get to know you?

    Kevin: Look, I don't think there's any need to be sarcastic.

    Dave: Oh, I'm not being sarcastic! Nooo! This is just a little speech impediment. I can't help it.
  • by PalmMP3 ( 840083 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:26PM (#12616682)
    "I'm sure the comments on this story will be incredibly insightful."

    Am I the only one who finds it amusing that so far, not a single comment has been moderated "Insightful"?

  • I'm sure the comments on this story will be incredibly insightful.

    But they won't be redundant, because you know nobody will try to make the same stupid joke twice.

  • Sarchasm - The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the recipient who doesn't get it.

    Finally, a cure in sight...
  • cultural gap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kortec ( 449574 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:28PM (#12616727) Homepage
    i wonder how they account for sarcasam missed from cultural differences. a friend of mine did some time in africa with the peace corps, and remembers all of the american humor based on sarcasam just deadpanning; maybe this sector is only developed through cultural trends?
  • I am dain bramaged!

    -
  • *pffft* I'm so sure.

  • "I'm sure the comments on this story will be incredibly insightful."

    So a week later they called again and told me the cheque had bounced and said... I had to see... Doug.
    Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug. He used...
    sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and... satire. He was vicious."

    • Re:Insightful (Score:2, Interesting)

      by davidfree ( 886279 )
      Some of the best sarcasm is that which occurs between advanced practitioners of the art.

      They drop the sarcasm into the conversation with just a delicate touch, so smooth that that it may slip past the other who for a split seconds toys in his mind as to whether that is a genuine emotion, then it clicks.

      Anyone from the UK, who watches 'Have I Got News For You' will know that show to be a sarcasm frenzy, and Paul Merton is one of the most vicious paranas in the water.

      A real genius of the art
  • While I did enjoy about 20 different versions of what the comic book guy says, I'd like to point out that if we understand how human brain interprets the meaning could have some significant impacts on the way humans communicate with computers.

    It seems to me that today's computer is no different then someone who isn't able to understand the hidden meaning, but takes everything literally. If be learn of how exactly the human brain takes in the information and goes that extra step to figure out what was mea
  • Better Article (Score:2, Informative)

    by awhelan ( 781773 )
    I was reading this article [bbc.co.uk] on the BBC website when it hit slashdot... would have posted it sooner but apparently I don't pass the turing test.
  • When they can isolate the part of the brain that causes people to misindentify bad luck, coincidence, and poetic justice as irony, we'll have made a major step towards an educated and enlightened society.
  • by Michael_Burton ( 608237 ) <michaelburton@brainrow.com> on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:35PM (#12616827) Homepage

    The brain area in question should be called the medulla obnoxiosa. In honor of me.

  • OK, I'm going to rain on the sarcasm parade. Just to point out that damage to ventromedial prefrontal cortex [google.com] is not just about sarcasm (thank you very much). Damage to this area is known to impair a wide range of things like decision making skills and social abilities. It's NOT like the authors are claiming this is the one place that sarcasm lives in the brain, or that this is all that bit of brain does. We now return you to your regularly scheduled /. banter.
  • I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

  • the idea that people with damage in the prefrontal cortex have difficulties dealing with "hidden meaning" in words is hardly a new one.

    damage to the prefrontal lobe can even cause sociopathy [oupjournals.org], to give an extreme example.
  • The difficult thing about sarcasm is that it doesn't translate well to irony (the written form). Most of us now communicate much of the time with text and irony is a subtle art that is not as easily mastered as sarcasm (which any teenager can master).

    I think it would be cool if the WC3 could develop a sarcasm tag. (I think it would be tons more useful than the blink tag). This would help us create a way to translate our sarcasm.

    I propose that it looks like italics except that it slants the other way (to
  • ... that make Slashdot my favorite source of straight lines... er, I mean my favorite source of tech news.

    But this article is a little behind. Not only have scientists found the part of the brain responsible for understanding sarcasm, but they've also found the part of the brain that makes some people believe that every trait is localized to a part of the brain. Not surprisingly, it's just centimeters away from the part of the brain researchers believe makes certain people think that every human trait is l
  • A sarcasm detector? Oh that's useful.

    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • comes the bullshit meter.
  • Now that it's been revealed as having a physical origin, comedy clubs will probably be required to provide special accommodation and parking for the humor-impaired.
  • by dick johnson ( 660154 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:54PM (#12617023)
    Far be it from me to not take a cheap shot at this story...

    But this research does serve a useful purpose in Autism/asperger syndrome.

    Folks with asperger syndrome commonly have an inability to detect sarcasm and read facial, social cues.

    >>By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and many individuals (although not all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naiveté, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. While language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some children sound like "little professors." However, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context. Read full definition here [udel.edu]

    • "By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and many individuals (although not all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naiveté, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. While language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some children sound li
  • Aspberger (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 3770 ( 560838 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @03:58PM (#12617066) Homepage
    There was an interview with Bram Cohen a little while back. It talked a lot about Aspbergers syndrome which is similar to autism.

    One of the problems the afflicted have is that they don't understand the sarcams of a sentence such as when the teacher asks "did the dog eat your homework". This was a literal example from that article.

    So, I wonder what this discovery will mean for people with autism and Aspbergers?
  • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @04:34PM (#12617436) Homepage
    I say when sarcasm fails to be detected as such, it's usually the speaker's fault. Why? Becuase the thought process going through the listener's head in an instant is something like this:
    1 - Hmmm - that statement seemed like a really dumb thing to say, in direct contradiction of reality.
    2 - I wonder why this person would say something so at odds with the truth?
    3 - It could be because he literally believes it and is just dumb or delusional, or it could be because he knows better and is trying to make a joke.
    4 - If I respect the speaker's intelligence, then I realize it's not serious, and thus a joke.
    5 - If I do not respect the speaker's intelligence, then I still think he seriously meant the dumb thing he said.

    So the problem is that if I fail to see sarcasm, it's because I don't have reason to respect the speaker's intelligence.

    This is why sarcasm doesn't work online, by the way - the speaker is a stranger to you and so you don't know he's smart enough not to believe something dumb, and so step 4 up above doesn't trigger.
  • by DanceBee ( 29850 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @04:44PM (#12617526)
    Here's a nut even the collective mind of Google has been unable to crack: Machine recognition of sarcasm.

    Take a look at the Huh? Corp [huhcorp.com] site, and notice the counterpoint between the devilishly satirical site content and the dead-serious Google ads.

    One cannot underestimate the serious menace posed to contextual ad networks by the unregulated use of sarcasm by ad-network partner sites.

    As soon as I finish typing up this comment I plan to file for a provisional patent on "An Automated Method of Determining Sarcasm Content by Using a Naive Baysian Classifier Trained on Slashdot Comments."

  • by happyclam ( 564118 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @05:34PM (#12618014)
    What we need now is scientists to figure out why it is that so many /. posters post exactly the same thing... and they all get modded up to +5 funny. Although it is really funny to read "A scarcasm detector! Now that's REAL useful!" twenty-three times.
  • by illuminatedwax ( 537131 ) <stdrange&alumni,uchicago,edu> on Monday May 23, 2005 @05:58PM (#12618281) Journal
    Sarcasm is more than just a function in the brain - some languages use it very little, if at all. The Japanese, for instance, almost NEVER use sarcasm. I have a friend who taught English there that tried to teach his students sarcasm - and it really failed because some of the students just didn't understand it.
    • Hmm... I live in Japan, and my primary language at home is Japanese. I'm not sure why your friend would have missed this, but the Japanese use both sarcasm and irony in their humour. Could be that in an English class they're speaking a language they're unfamiliar with and less likely to make funny comments. In a classroom environment it might be that students are apt to take their teachers literally far more than their friends.

      I suspect most people are also less likely to use sarcasm with someone they'r

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