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THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION BY JOSEPH WINFIELD JUNEAU HASLAM A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Steven Graham, Ph.D. Sarasota, Florida May, 2012
ii ii This thesis is dedicated to my grandmother, Charlotte Nini Haslam (August 28, 1912 April 28, 2012) I love you.
iii Acknowledgements To my mother, Debra Haslam, for showing me what it means to have a strong backbone, work ethic, and persistence. To my father, Edward Haslam, for always promoting i ntellectual curiosity. To my thesis sponsor and academic advisor, Steven G raham, for your unwavering patience, insight, and instruction over the years. To my professors, for believing in me. To my friends, for always being there, especially i n the darkest of times.
iv Table of Contents Dedication ii Acknowledgements iii Abstract ....v Effects of Type-Face on Sarcasm Comprehension .1 Sarcasm Comprehension .2 Sarcasm Comprehension and the Right Hemisphere ..5 Current Study .12 Conditions ..17 Method ...19 Participants 19 Materials 20 Procedure ...20 Results 21 Item 4 .22 Item 7 .23 Item 8 .23 Discussion ..24 Theoretical Significance of Outcomes ..28 Limitations .28 Follow-up Study 30 Future Directions ...31 Conclusion .34 Reference ...35 Appendix 39
v THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION Joseph Winfield Juneau Haslam New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT This study investigates the effects of a purposed left leaning italicized type-face on sarcasm comprehension. In the experiment, partic ipants read conditionally treated hypothetical conversational exchanges, either liter al or sarcastic in nature, and evaluated speaker intent. Type-face did show to have some sig nificant effect on participant perception in particular instances, however these f indings are preliminary. These results support that there may be an intuitive aspect to th e type-face, possibly influencing the readers inner narration of text, akin to conversat ional cues. Further research into this field of study may result in additional ways to enh ance intent clarity in computer mediated communication. ________________________ Steven Graham Division of Social Sciences
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 Since the integration of computers into our social context, instances of computer mediated communication (CMC) have become synonymous with our very concept of communication; letters have been replaced by e-mail s, a text message readily substitutes for a phone call, and friends hang out on social networking sites. This paradigm shift of communication is unified by one feature: convenienc e. It is because of this convenience that the number of registered cell phones in the US exceeds the US population, why Facebook boasts 425-million active profiles, and Go ogle offers 7703 megabytes (and counting) of free storage for their wildly successf ul G-mail client (http://www.ctia.org/advocacy/research/index.cfm/AI D/10316; www.facebook.com; mail.google.com) Because of its undisputed prevalence, CMC now medi ates a myriad of conversations on a daily basis, from the casual exc hange to the professional transaction. Often times these conversations are embedded with h umor to help convey the feelings of a sender, perhaps the humor is humorous because it is apparent, or more so because it is not; regardless, humor and laughing a re parts of what it is to be human. It spreads throughout our social context and is boundl ess. In the infinitely configurable matrix of humor, sarcasm is often utilized to revea l personal feelings about a situation through the guise of irony and negativity (Gibbs, 2 000). For example, a speakers read acceptance of a date invitation (e.g., Of course I d like to go with you) can vary entirely in meaning by subtle, nuanced cues during conversation. Such nuanced cues include the tone of voice of the speaker, dimensional characteristics (e.g., pitch, intensity, time) and a unique acoustic profile apart from nonsarcastic utterances (Voyer & Techentin, 2010; Rock well, 2007). When used correctly, sarcasm facilitates the navigation of complex socia l situations by buffering potentially
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 negative social situations (Cameron et al., 2010). For instance, sarcastic humor is used to diffuse social situations involving sexual objectif ication, teasing, substance abuse, body image, and roughhousing. Sarcasm Comprehension Early findings by Gibbs (1986) suggest that compreh ension of a sarcastic meaning does not require a prerequisite literal pro cessing of a statements meaning. In his experiment, participants read counter-balanced shor t narratives that ended in either literal or nonliteral statements on a computer and responde d via a button to indicate if the statement could be paraphrased as sarcastic or lite ral by a true-or-false item selection. Participant response times were analyzed, the data showed no significant difference in response time when evaluating literal statements co mpared to nonliteral.This finding on the psycholinguistics of sarcasm wa s challenged by findings from Dews & Winner (1999), who observed that the literal meaning of non-literal statements are processed in addition to the obligatory process ing of the non-literal meanings.In their study, participants performed a decision test where they evaluated literal and ironic remarks following vignettes and indicated the speak ers intent as positive or negative, as quickly as possible. After a 15-minute distraction task, participants were told to think of the remarks as being exchanged with a friend, and r ated the likelihood of making such a remark on a 7-point scale (1 = very unlikely, 7 = v ery likely). The data revealed that ironic remarks take longer to evaluate than literal remarks. Dews and Winner offer a plausible explanation for this occurrence in that t he literal remarks interfere with judgments of intended meaning. Their results sugges t that some aspects of literal
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 3 meanings are processed, and in turn interfere durin g the evaluation of intended meaning. This suggests that sarcastic meanings are not neces sarily processed before or simultaneously with the literal meaning, but may be processed after. According to these researchers, an ironic statement cannot be fully un derstood unless the literal meaning is processed at some level, in order to create context for a non-literal inference, as the nonliteral meaning of a sarcastic phrase is not automa tically available. Further research by McDonald & Pearce (1996) furth er supports this notion of requisiteprocessing and understanding of literal meaning bef ore sarcastic inferences can be made. Their research on frontal lobe deficits an d sarcastic inference demonstrated an inability to interpret sarcastic counterfactual inf ormation in subjects with prefrontal cortical lesions. Whereas subjects were able to int erpret literal meanings in verbal exchanges, they were unable to process the sarcasti c counterfactual information. Participants performed tasks interpreting conversat ional remarks in everyday social scenarios. The first exchange presented lite ral information regarding the scenario, while the second exchange varied in meaning by two conditions (literal consistency, literal inconsistency). While participants were abl e to significantly interpret the literal meanings of the statements, they were unable to inf er meaning when reading counterfactual statements. This implies that the tr ue meaning of a counterfactual statement is dependent on the context of the antece dent, which can only be inferred after identification of the literal meaning. For example, in the statements what a great football game, and sorry I made you come, beca use the two statements are contradictory, the only way in which they can be se en as meaningful is if one of the
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 4 statements is interpreted as opposite to what it li terally assert through rejection of the literal meaning. This point is reiterated again in the most recent s tudy by Briner, Joss, & Virtue, (2011), who suggests that the comprehension of text -based sarcasm depends on the construction of a novel interpretation and subseque nt rejection of the texts literal meaning in the left hemisphere, where it is then pr ocessed for meaning in the right hemisphere. In their study, 93 undergraduate partic ipants with no history of brain abnormalities participated in a lexical decision ta sk measuring fixation time of a target stimulus in the left or right visual field. For thi s experiment, 48 sets of text containing two sentences with 3 conditions ( literal sarcastic neutral ) were created. The first sentence of each set was held constant across the c onditions; the second sentence varied by either contributing more information to the proc eeding sentence ( literal ), sarcastically referenced information in the preceding sentence ( sarcastic ), or added unrelated information ( neutral ). Additionally, 48 filler sets of text were inclu ded and all sets of text contained approximately equal numbers of sylla bles in the sentences; the texts were counter-balanced across six lists, ensuring an equa l number of target words across participants. Participants were situated 50 cm in front of a comp uter screen, their chins supported by a rest. After viewing the first senten ce, participants controlled when the proceeding sentence would appear by pressing a butt on. Participants were then flashed a central fixation target for 750 ms, followed by a t arget word and non-word appearing on either the left or right side of the screen for 176 ms; this short duration made it impossible to shift focus to the stimuli; this ensured the tar get word to be presented and seen in only
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 5 one visual field. Responses were registered by pres sing one of two response buttons; half of the participants responded with the right hand, while half responded with their left. Participants were instructed to perform this lexica l decision task as quickly and accurately as possible. Only correct responses and times were analyzed. The processing of sarcastic words in the left visua l field (right hemisphere) was found to be significantly greater than instances in the right visual field (left hemisphere). In the right visual field, instances of literal pro cessing significantly differed greater than sarcastic instances. While no differences between h emispheric processing of literal text were observed, the right hemisphere differed signif icantly in processing sarcastic text. These data suggest that the right hemisphere plays a unique role in the processing of sarcastic text, which will be elaborated in the fol lowing section. Sarcasm Comprehension and the Right Hemisphere Research by Fournier, et al., (2007) investigating cognitive differences between healthy brains and brains with cortical lesions add s substantial evidence to the role that the right hemisphere plays in higher social cogniti ve functioning. A distinct cognitive profile of the right hemisphere has been identified where higher cognitive functions such as lie detection and negative affect discrimination (e.g., anger and disgust) occur. In this study, distinct cognitive profiles of the right and left hemispheres, respectively, were observed in 2 participants recruited via a neurolog ical clinic. Both participants had previously undergone a complete hemispherectomy of the left or right side 30 years prior. Participant LT had the left hemisphere removed, w ith the right hemisphere intact at age 13; participant RT had the right he misphere removed, with the left
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 6 hemisphere intact at age 16. Both participants wer e assessed on quality of emotional recognition, social inference and advanced social c ognitive judgments in normative functioning, performing and assessed on the followi ng social cognition tasks: The Awareness of Social Inferences Test evaluated abili ty to identify basic emotional expression and ability to differentiate between sin cere and counterfactual exchanges within short videos highlighting basic cross-cultur al emotional expressions. The Emotional Evaluation Test evaluated the ability to correctly match 7 basic emotional expressions (e.g., anger, fear, happy) to actors in 28 short films. The minimal condition of the Social Inference Test evaluates participant abi lity to pick up on linguistic cues involving sarcasm in a dispute between two actors, while the enriched condition evaluates ability to discern between white and s ympathetic lies. The Reading the Minds Eye test assessed participants perception of 4 emotional states through discrete images of human eyes. During the emotional evaluation test, RT scored low in correct identification of anger and disgust expressions, but faced little err or when identifying other expressions. On the social inference test, RT faced greater di fficulty in sarcasm differentiation and struggled with the lie differentiation task; LT c orrectly differentiated between sarcasm and sincerity with strong continuity, as well as li ttle difficulty discerning white lies from sympathetic lies. On the reading the mind in the eyes test, RT faced great difficulty assigning emotion, LT performed at control result s. These data show distinct differences in social cognitive abilities in relati on to hemisphere sides. An intact right hemisphere, as observed in LT, performs above sig nificance in social cognition tasks compared to the intact left hemisphere in RT. Con sidering these data, processes unique
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 7 to the right hemisphere may contribute to a substan tial amount of specialized social functioning, such as registering facial expressions discerning trickery from truth, and processing emotional communication via expression. Integration of attitude, intent, affect, an d awareness of alternative explanations occurring in the right frontal lobe is essential fo r deducing sarcastic meaning; these processes are speculated to be regulated by a neura l network of functions occurring in the right ventromedial area of the brain (Shamay-Tsoory Tomer, & Aharon-Peretz, 2005). The impairment of sarcastic processing may be depen dent on social cognition functions, including emotion recognition and Theory of Mind (T oM). Participants with damage to the pre-frontal cortex presented ToM decifits, whic h correlated with deficits in sarcastic comprehension ability. Participants with localized prefrontal (PFC ) and posterior (PC) cortical lesions were recruited and assessed on tasks evaluating aff ect recognition, sarcasm processing ability, and ToM. After completing neurological and neuropsychological screenings, participants lesions were classified by magnetic r esonance tomography (PFC = 25, PC = 16). Within the PFC group, 12 lesions were unilater al (6 right, 6 left) in addition to 13 bilaterial lesions. The PC group contained 16 unila teral lesions (9 left, 7 right). Measures adapted from Ekman & Friesen (1976 ) and Ross, Thompson, & Yenko (1997) were used to assess the relationship between sarcastic impairment and affect identification; these tasks required participants t o correctly match affect to faces, and affect to spoken passages, from a multiple-choice s election. Sarcasm comprehension was evaluated using measures from Ackerman (1981), wher e participants listen to prerecorded stories and responded to questions assessi ng reading comprehension abilities
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 8 and speaker attitude. The relationship between sarc asm recognition-impairment and ToM was observed in instances of social faux pas recogn ition tasks, adapted from BaronCohen, Jolliffe, & Mortimore (1997). The data found that right PFC lesions significantly differed from all other cortical lesions in error r ate of sarcastic comprehension and ToM ability. Furthermore, ToM ability and affect recogn ition significantly related to sarcasm detection and comprehension. Damage to the right v entromedial area significantly impaired participants ability to recognize facial affect and affective intonation. These data suggest that processes required for decoding a nd processing sarcasm occur through the integration of specialized affective components in the right frontal lobe. Additional findings investigating the effects of co rtical lesions on social processing underlines the importance of the ToM and the social brain. Research by Channon et al., (2006) using fMRI implicates the la teral front regions and right ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain in the processing of non-literal and sarcastic meaning. This study compared participants with eith er localized frontier or posterior cortical lesions with a healthy control group on me ntalizing task performance. Forty-five participants with singular cortical lesions complet ed pragmatic comprehension tasks evaluating mentalistic and executive function abili ty during an fMRI. Participants read 24 short stories, where each story concluded with 1 of 4 possible ending remarks conditions (no interference, action/no sarcasm, direct sarcasm indirect sarcasm) and responded to two questions evaluating their understanding of the meaning and intent of the closing remark. The first task asked participants to explai n the meaning of the final remark verbally in a free response, whereas the second tas k forced participants to choose an alternative explanation for the meaning of the rema rk from 4 different explanations.
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 9 Participants with frontal lesions exhibit high inst ances of error in mentalistic interference ability when the meaning was not always literal in nature. Greater neural activation was observed in the lateral frontal regions during the free response task, this is likely attributed to the content generation component of t he task, as content generation is recognized as an executive function of mentalizing. Activation was also observed in the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex (rvmPFC) durin g the alternative explanation selection task. Frontal lesions significantly impaired participant content generation abilities negatively affected performance in alternative expl anation tasks in the action, direct, and indirect condition. Activation in the right medial frontal cortex of healthy participants significantly correlated with increased performance on mentalizing tasks compared to lesioned corticies. Posterior lesions did not diffe r from the control. The lateral frontal region and rvmPFC may contribut e to inference, content generation, and filtration abilities when processing sarcasm. G allagher et al., (2002) suggest that consistent activation of the anterior paracingulate cortex, superior temporal sulci, and bilateral temporal poles during tasks assessing ToM may compose a neural network of the social brain responsible for ToM. Furthermore Gallagher proposes that anterior paracingulate cortex activity is essential for repr esenting mental states apart from reality, an ability required to process multiple interpretat ions and points of view necessary for sarcasm comprehension. He also argues that the supe rior temporal sulci is implicated in understanding causality, perceiving intentional beh avior, and taking self-perspective, and the function of the bilateral temporal poles is ass ociated with personal and episodic memory. This region may contribute to mentalizing a bility by recalling previous
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 0 experiences and emotions in order to predict the mo tivations of others based on personal experience. Due to consistent activation during tas ks assessing abilities specific to ToM, Gallagher suggests that these regions create the so cial cognitive network of the social brain, an integral system required for upper cognit ive processing of which irony and sarcasm are distinct features. Mentalizing plays an important role in the comprehe nsion of non-literal language. Various research has identified different neural su bstrates and networks implicated in the processing of sarcasm, where processes including af fect, mentalizing, and theory of mind abilities are suggested to occur (Uchiyama et al., 2006; Kesler-West et al., 2001; Channon et al., 2006; Gallagher et al., 2002). Uch iyama et al., (2006) identified neural network activation during sarcasm detection during fMRIs of healthy brains performing lexical decision tasks, a method used in a similar study conducted by Briner et al., (2010). Activation patterns in the following areas during s arcasm detection were observed bilaterally in the left and right temporal pole, in the superior temporal sulcus, the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), and the inferior frontal g yrus, also referred to as Brodmanns Area 47. Bilateral activation in the temporal lobes occurred while participants read sentences composed of literal information, suggesti ng a bilateral processing of literal language. Following this, participants read supplem ental, non-literal sentences and displayed activation of the left temporal lobe by s entence 2 related to the prerequisite processing and retrieval of literal language. It is speculated that this activation is caused by the right hemisphere as it creates a novel inter pretation of the sentence to infer alternate meanings. Parts of the medial PFC was not activated during the reading of the
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 1 literal sentences, this suggests that the medial PF C may play a unique role in sarcasm detection. The researchers suggest that medial PFC activation likely deals with the mentalizing processes of inductive reasons, a featu re of Theory of Mind. They submit that this activation is likely due to the aggregati on of relevant information from the literal sentence used to decode the meaning of the non-lite ral. Further research involving anger recognition shows a greater activation of neural substrates in the right hemisphere, this activation may be topographically contagious by the activation of other substrates in immediately a djacent neural subsections (KeslerWest et al., 2001). During their study, specific re gions of neural activation were observed in subjects viewing emotionally expressive faces du ring an fMRI. 21 healthy participants viewed black and white photographs of human faces a nd completed affect matching tasks. The experimental stimuli varied by 3 conditi ons: mosaic, neutral, and emotional expression. Mosaic photos were pixilated to the ext ent where no discernible facial characteristic could be identified, neutral photos presented persons at rest, while photos with emotional expression displayed basic emotions, e.g., sad, angry, happy. Order of emotional expression was counterbalanced across sub jects and participants did not see repeated stimuli. Stimuli were grouped together by their emotion-stat e similarities, in sets of 9. Prior to the experimental run, participants viewed multiple mosaic and neutral photos before viewing photo sets, each containing 9 photos from each condition. There were four experimental runs in total. Following the expe rimental procedure, participants completed an emotion labeling task, rating intensit y of emotional expression.
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 2 The comparison of neural activity across the three conditions resulted in an observable increase in emotion-recognition related neural activity in all cortical subsets. Areas previously activated in the neutral condition displayed additional activation not observed in the neutral condition alone. Difference s in activation patterns were most apparent in the frontal lobe, where subset activati on varied depending on the emotional dimensions of the stimuli. Activation patterns attr ibuted to anger stimuli were observed in the left and right frontal fusiform gyri, left infe rior frontal gyrus, left precentral gyrus, the medial portion of superior frontal gyrus, the right lateral occipital gyrus and immediately adjacent areas. This study provides more evidence supporting that the impact to which anger increases neural activation in the right hemi sphere, and further supports the importance of the right hemisphere in sarcastic pro cessing. CMC vs. FtF We have identified how the integration of affect, i ntent, attitude and awareness of alternative explanations (mentalistic, executive fu nction abilities) in the right hemisphere is essential for sarcasm comprehension (Shamay-Tsoo ry, Tomer, & Aharon-Peretz, 2005), sharing similar features observed in humor p rocessing and appreciation (Shammi & Stuss, 1999). We have identified different neura l substrates and networks for sarcasm (Uchiyama et al., 2006), affect (Kesler-West et al. 2001), mentalizing (Channon et al., 2006), and ToM abilities (Gallagher et al., (2002). We know that the right hemisphere has a distinct cognitive profile apart from the lef t hemisphere where higher cognitive functions, including lie detection and negative aff ect discrimination (anger and disgust), occur (Fournier, et al., 2007). Since an anger resp onse is unique to sarcasms inherent
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 3 negativity, we speculate that the right hemisphere is morphologically unique to the comprehension of sarcasm outside of generalized hum or appreciation. A great deal of information regarding a statements meaning comes from the interpretation of non-verbal cues between speaker a nd listener, including: visible cues (e.g, gestures, eye gaze), paralinguistic cues (e.g ., tone, tempo), and context (Liu, 2000). These cues contrast to valence of the messages con text; this incongruence helps shape the sarcastic intent when used face-to-face (FtF). However, many of these cues are lost in CMC; while no single cue provides an unconditional guarantee of irony comprehension, speakers and listeners are more confident using sar casm and irony use when several cues are present at the same time (Kreuz, 1996). The development of social networking platforms, e-m ail, and texting revolutionized the ways in which we, as a species, communicate. Although text-based communication itself is not new, the ubiquity of co mputer-mediated communication (CMC) is. While efficient, CMC exists in a medium w here non-verbal, paralinguistic, and context cues are compromised. CMC communicators are at a disadvantage relative to FtF speakers when signaling for ironic intent. For exam ple, CMC users do not share the same physical space or paralinguistic cues that typicall y denote ironic intent. This presents a problem, as non-verbal communication is important f or deducing literal content of a speakers meaning, especially in instances of ambig uity (Allbrittion et al., 1996). Body language, tone, emphasis, and expression dictates m eaning, where nuanced variations of these factors differentiate, for example, a sarcast ic meaning from a serious one (Abrahams, 1962). Without these subtle cues, it bec omes exceedingly difficult to evaluate remarks in CMC exchanges.
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 4 Records show the initiative to rectify this discrep ancy of cues in CMC conversations as early as September 19th, 1982. It was on this date that chat logs from the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon revea l Scott E. Fahlman first introducing the concept of the emoticon to his coll eagues. The idea of the emoticon quickly became viral throughout other computer rese arch online bulletin boards, and is now a ubiquitous meme in chat programs and word pro cessors (www.cs.cmu/~sef/sefSmiley.htm). Emoticons have been shown to strengthen the valence of messages. The proliferation and use of e moticons, textual anthropomorphic representations substituting basic emotional expres sions, have previously been shown to sometimes strengthen meaning in messages, but in ma ny instances are ambiguous themselves and not utilized in conversations. Derk s, Bros, and Grumbkow (2008) suggest that emoticons can effectively strengthen t he meaning of an asynchronous email, and may help imply sarcasm via incongruence between valence and emoticon. However, these findings contrasts with Walther and DAddario (2001), who found that emoticons are were very rarely used and did not enhance sarca sm in text messages. Emoticons may not be used on a regular basis in order to avoid a perceived juvenile behavior, or not to undermine a statements irony. Muecke (1969) descri bes irony as the art of being clear without being obvious. In contrast, Walther & DA ddario (2001), found that emoticons did not enhance sarcasm in text messages. Excessiv e use of ellipses (i.e., ) and additional consonants and vowels (e.g., nooooooo t haaannnnk you) may facilitate inference by acting as ironic markers through mimet ic representations of verbal qualities, but is often neglected and thought as juvenile (Han cock, 2004).
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 5 Hancock argues that instances of verbal iro ny comprehension are not different between CMC and FtF conversation, although this cla im is based on a lack of supporting evidence rather than a significant finding. However Hancock did find use of ellipses (. .) were most often used to act as an ironic marker in CMC conversations. In his experiment, eighty subjects participated in a conve rsation with a complete stranger, either with CMC or FtF interaction, and discussed topics f rom prompts intended to elicit ironic remarks including a tabloid fashion police photo spread, and a task which the participants collaborated on creating a 5-course me al from a disgusting food selection. Participants in the CMC condition were placed in a computer lab and communicated via a generic chat program, whereas those in the FtF cond ition were seated across each other at a table, separated by a barrier that obscured facia l expressions. Upon completing the conversations, participants followed up by respondi ng to a three-item, five-point Likert scale survey evaluating their partners sense of hu mor. Significantly higher rates of irony were reported in CMC, data analysis revealed freque nt use of sarcasm and rhetorical questions attributed to this finding. In the CMC co ndition, irony cues included ellipses, emoticons, phonetic vocalizations, punctuation and amplifiers. Significant findings did include higher instances of participants using mark ed sarcastic utterances in CMC conversations than in FtF conversations, despite gr eater chances of miscommunication. Hancock argues that there are adequate tool s already in place to effectively communicate irony in CMC environments, but continui ng research still addressing instances of miscommunication suggests otherwise. K ruger and Elby (2004) find that senders overestimate their ability to communicate s arcasm in e-mails, reporting a 97% confidence of successful sarcasm decoding to the ac tual 84% success rate. They suggest
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 6 that egocentrism, the difficulty in reconciliation of an outside perspective, is responsible for this discrepancy due to the senders assumption that their audience will grasp their sarcasm. This riff in communication is detrimental to strengthening interpersonal relationships in accordance to Walthers (1992) Soc ial Information Processing Theory, which postulates that the uncertainty of meaning in CMC needs to be reduced in order to accomplish interpersonal goals. Various forms of ironic punctuations have been prop osed to reduce the uncertainty in print media as early as 1580, when E nglish printer Henry Denham first introduced the percontation point, an ironic marker signified by a question mark within a box, later followed by French poet Alcanter de Brah ms irony mark in the 19th century. Both of these marks were visually represented by a backwards questions mark. More modern sarcastic typography has included Teletext, the addition of a bracketed exclamation mark added at the end of a statement, p seudo-HTML coding tags (e.g.,
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 7 developed in 2004 by Glenn McAllany (http://www.gle nnmcanally.com/sarcastic/), and has been optimized to work across all digital commu nication platforms as Sartalics in 2011. It is reasonable to question the need for sartalics and to point out that by labeling sarcastic marks as sarcastic, we spoil the joke. Af ter all, the argument can be made that great literary minds like Shakespeare did not need such devices to convey satire in their works, and that a fundamental point of satirical wr iting is the ambiguity of seriousness from the author. However we must consider that freq uency of use of CMC in our modern culture, that most of conversations in this medium encompasses the casual to the professional, and that the typical sender of a CMC message is (surprise!) not Shakespeare. Considering this, another device in th e repertoire of CMC tools should improve communication rather than degrade it. Conditions For the list of experimental example figure s described in the following, see Appendix. In the no condition (N), statements appeared in their original experim ental format with no sartalics application. Because of th e literal consistency of example 1 this remark could be meaningfully interpreted as a since re compliment. In example 2 the contradiction between the two statements can only b e meaningfully reconciled if the remark is interpreted as sarcastic, however there i s no distinction to help a reader infer which speaker is being sarcastic. In the speaker one (S1) condition, sartalics was applied only to the target word in the first statement.
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 8 According to the theoretical concept of sartalics i n example 3 the first statement actually implies the opposite (e.g., What a horrib le dress). In this respect, the only way to meaningfully reconcile this exchange is if the s econd statement is also interpreted as a sarcastic remark. Following this concept in example 4 the second statement can be appropriately reconciled as a sincere remark to the highlighted sarcastic tone in the first statement. In this case, sartalics serves to accent uate the sarcasm of the first statement, rather than the sarcasm of in the second statement. In the speaker two (S2) condition, sartalics was applied only to the target word of th e second statement, e.g., How rude, Why thanks. For Example: In example 5 applying sartalics to the second statement of a l iterally consistent exchange makes the reconciliation illogical, unless the first statement is also interpreted as sarcastic. In example 6 applying sartalics to the second statement of a l iterally inconstant exchange accentuates the sarcasm in the second speakers response while underlining the sincerity of the first statement. I n the both speakers (B) condition, sartalics was applied to the target words of both s peakers. For example: In this context, the reconciliation of the inconsistency of example 7 would be illogical, as it would infer a further literally in consistent comment, e.g., What a lovely dress, How rude. However the reversal of target words in the literally consistent statements in example 8 could be reconciled and interpreted as both speake rs being sarcastic, e.g. What a horrible dress, How rude. Current Study
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 1 9 The function of sartalics plays on the implied emph asis of the right-leaning italicization of a word, where the italicization le ans left, creating a visual representation to signal sarcastic counterfactuality. Can sartalic s effectively strengthen instances of sarcasm while facilitating reader comprehension of sarcasm? We hypothesize that sartalics will influence the readers inner narrati on, strengthening the sarcastic intent in messages where sarcasm may be ambiguous, as verbal cues would in face-to-face communication. Method Participants The sample consisted of 90 undergraduate students c urrently enrolled at a small liberal arts college in southwest Florida; the aver age age of students range between 18 and 22 years of age. Eligibility criterion included being at least 18 years of age and possession of a current school e-mail address. Whil e sex and gender demographics were not collected, the population from which the sample was drawn consists of a 1:3, male to female ratio. Though previous literature does not s uggest sex differences in this field of research, it may be assumed that the majority of re spondents are female. Participants were recruited via an e-mail s ent to the student listserv, calling for an experiment investigating language pragmatics, a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. The e -mail link included the html link for the study, created on SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonke y.com, 2012). Prior to the experimental process, participants were required to sign an electronic consent form, approved by the institutional review board (IRB). N o personal or identifiable information was collected.
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 0 Materials The experimental stimuli were created using cascadi ng style sheet programming language retrieved from www.sartalics.com In this study, participants completed a sarcasm task adapted from McDonald & Pearce (1996) assessing participant ability to interpret sarcasm in written conversational remark s without information regarding speaker attitude or gender. The materials were comp osed of 12 pairs of written statements representing excerpts from a conversational exchang e about (1) a persons dress, (2) a football game, and (3) the size of a meal. Each cas e had four versions, two responses were literally consistent (e.g., What a lovely dre ss, Why thanks; What a horrible dress, How rude), and two were literally inconsi stent (e.g., What a lovely dress, How rude.; What a horrible dress, Why thanks) The twelve pairs of statements were presented in a random order assigned via a ran dom number generator (www.random.org) and were the basis of the four treatment conditions. Procedure Participants were informed that they were to read 1 2 conversational excerpts between two people, and asked questions pertaining to their interpretation of the information and intent of the speakers. Participant s were told sometimes people say what they mean, other times they do not prior to t he start of the task. Once beginning the task, participants were randomly assigned one of th e 4 conditional treatments per item, for each item. This was to ensure that participants would receive a fairly balanced mix of literally consistent and inconsistent items with al l conditions. The effectiveness of
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 1 sartalics was assessed by measuring participant res ponses on a set of two questions for each item. For example, the questions appropriate t o items 1-7 (above) were: A. Does speaker 1 like the dress? B. Is speaker 2 flattered? Participants responded with either yes or no to each question, and were unable to proceed to the next item until answering both qu estions. After completing all 12 items, participants were forwarded to a debriefing screen explaining the purpose of sartalics and the study. The experimental process lasted approxim ately 10 minutes. Results We predicted that the use of sartalics on target wo rds would have an impact on readers perceptions of sarcasm. A one-way betweensubjects ANOVA was conducted on all 12 experimental items to compare the effect of sartalics on sarcastic comprehension in text-based conversations in no treatment, speaker o ne, speaker two, and both speakers conditions. Mean values ranged between 1.00 and 2.0 0, where numbers approaching 1.00 indicated a likelihood to answer yes and numbers approaching 2.00 a likelihood to answer no. These numeric values correspond to ord er in which the response questions were listed throughout the methodological design. Of the 12 total experimental items, Item 12 was omitted from the analysis due to a typo Although cell sizes were not equal across the items, nonparametric tests yielded an id entical pattern of results as when analyzed using parametric measures. Therefore, for ease of interpretation, results of parametric statistics are reported. Item 4
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 2 There was a significant effect of sartalics treatme nt on sarcastic comprehension at the p < .05 level in item 4 (That was a great football game, Sorry I made you come), for both questions (Did speaker 1 enjoy th e football game, Does speaker 2 feel bad for inviting speaker 1 along), F4-1 (3, 86) = 6.14, p = .001, = .176, and, F42 (3, 86) = 8.22 p = .001, =.222. This effect was significant at the adjusted alpha levels of .004 per test (.05/11). A Tukey HSD post -hoc comparison of the four groups indicated that the S1 group ( M = 1.833 (.383), 95% CI [1.64, 2.02], M = 1.222 (.428), 95% CI [1.01, 1.44]), gave significantly higher sar casm inference ratings than the N group ( M = 1.279 (.452), 95% CI [1.09, 1.45], M = 1.769 (.430), 95% CI [1.60, 1.94]). However no significant difference was found when ap plied to S2 group ( M = 1.346 (.485), 95% CI [1.15, 1.54], M = 1.769 (.430), 95% CI [1.60, 1.94]), Taken togethe r, these results suggest that when responding to the q uestions (Did speaker 1 enjoy the football game, Does speaker 2 feel bad for inviti ng speaker 1 along), the application of sartalics on the target word great in the firs t statement (That was a great football game), influenced participants to infer that speak er 1 did not enjoy the football game ( M = 1.833), whereas with no sartalics, participants inf erred that speaker 1 did in fact enjoy the football game ( M = 1.279). Furthermore, sartalics on speaker 1 influ enced participants to report that speaker two felt bad in response to speaker 1 sarcasm ( M = 1.222), but did not feel bad in the absence of sart alics ( M = 1.796). Using sartalics on speaker two made no difference in terms of comprehe nsion, and applying sartalics to both speakers made intent responses more ambiguous ( M = 1.550). Item 7
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 3 There was a significant effect of sartalics treatme nt on sarcastic comprehension at the p<.05 level on item 7 (What a lovely dress, How rude) for question 1 (Does speaker 1 like the dress), F (3, 86) = 5.88, p = .001, = .170. This effect was significant at the adjusted alpha levels of .004 per test (.05/ 11). A Tukey post-hoc comparison of the four groups on question 1 indicated that the S1 gro up ( M = 1.792 (.415), 95% Cl [1.62 1.97]) and B group ( M = 1.800 (.410), 95% Cl [1.61 1.99]) gave signi ficantly higher sarcasm inference ratings that the N group ( M = 1.364 (.492), 95% Cl [1.15, 1.58]). S2 did not differ significantly from the N group, ( M = 1.418 (.504), 95% Cl [1.20 1.63]. Taken together, these results suggests that sartali cs influences responders to interpret that speaker one in fact did not like the dress ( M = 1.792, M = 1.800), while in the absence of sartalics they interpreted that what was said (wha t a lovely dress), was in fact sincere ( M = 1.364). Item 8 There was a significant effect at the p<.05 level o n item 8 (What a horrible dress, Why thanks), for both questions (Does sp eaker 1 like the dress, Is speaker 2 flattered) F (3, 86) = 4.84, p = .004, h2 = .144, and F (3, 86) = 4.80, p = .004 =.143. This effect was significant at the adjusted alpha l evels of .004 per test (.05/11).A Tukey HSD post-hoc comparison of the four groups indicate d that the S1 group did not differ significantly from the N group in either question ( M = 1.61 (.500), 95% Cl [1.39 1.82], M= 1.82 (.346), 95% Cl [1.64 2.00]), ( M = 1.48 (.507), 95% Cl [1.26 1.70], M = 1.59 (.503), 95% Cl [1.37 1.81].
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 4 Discussion The present study offers findings regarding the int erpretations of text-based sarcasm and the effects of sarcastic type-face infl uencing its processing. In the task assessing the effect of sartalics on sarcastic comp rehension, participants showed some instances of sartalics affecting their perception o f sarcasm while reading hypothetical conversational exchanges. The significant differenc e in findings in the experimental measures is consistent with previous findings regar ding the role of sarcasm comprehension in text-based items (McDonald & Pearc e, 1996). However, the specific role of sartalics in understanding sarcasm has not been described before. Given the linguistic properties of sarcastic utterances and t he pragmatic properties of sartalics, it is to be expected that its interpretation would be med iated by the same principles of antecedent reconciliation observed in the cognitive processing of non-literal language. Considering, it may not be unreasonable to say that the effects of sartalics may influence specialized affective and social cognition function s of the right hemisphere, at times turning decidedly pedestrian exchanges into sarcast ically charged retorts. As noted, the right hemisphere has been implicated in having a di stinct cognitive profile linked to nonliteral language functions, affective processing, a nd humor appreciation (Alexander et al., 1989; Fournier et al., 2008; Shammi & Stuss, 1999). It has previously been suggested that the left and right hemispheres contribute separate elements in linguistics and social cognitions; the left hemispheres role being more l iteral, and the right hemispheres role being more emotional, as a large body of research e xists implicating the right hemisphere in the processing of emotionally related stimuli (K esler West et al., 2000; Shamay-
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 5 Tsoory, Tomer & Aharon-Peretz, 2005; Channon et al. 2006; Wapner, Hamby & Gardner, 1981). This research is the first of its kind that empiric ally examines the effects of typestyle on sarcasm comprehension. However, we underst and that these findings are preliminary. Surprisingly, we did find marked insta nces of significant effects of sartalics on sarcasm reconciliation performance in experiment al items four and seven. In item four, during the no treatment condition, participan ts rated speaker 1 as sincere and speaker 2 as sarcastic. In the S1 condition, sartal ics significantly changed the intent of speaker 1 from sincere to sarcastic, while speaker 2 remained sincere; this can be interpreted as saying that was a lousy football ga me, and sorry I made you come. In the S2 condition, participants interpreted speaker 1 as sincere more often, while sartalics largely changed participants perception of speaker 2 from sarcastic to sincere. In comparison to the previously stated iteration, this can be interpreted and restated as that was a great football game, and so youre glad you came. In this context, speculation arises that sartalics may have influenced participa nt head voice to narrative sorry I made you come in a (likely) playful tone. In this example where there is inherent sarcasm, s artalics effectively reversed the speakers intent on an individual basis with an app ropriate emotional reaction. We can simplify the scenario of bringing a friend to footb all game as a gesture of gift giving, where social norms enforce the etiquette of not bei ng disrespectful when receiving a gift. Considering this, it is safe to speculate that a pe rson would instead lie about their true feelings in order to express appreciation to the gi ft-giver. In this case, it would be more
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 6 appropriate for the giver to make a sarcastic comme nt in light of a positive experience as they extended the gesture at their own expense. In item seven, sartalics significantly strengthened sarcastic intent. In the N condition, participants responded that, while speak er 1 sincerely liked speakers 2 dress, speaker 2 was not flattered and interpreted the sar castic remark of how rude, as literal. Logically, it seems appropriate that one would expe ct flattery after a sincere compliment, not offence. In the S1 condition, applying sartalic s to the word lovely significantly changed from a sincere compliment to a sarcastic ba ckhand, while speaker 2 remained just as offended as without sartalics. We can specu late that these findings may arise from a possible attack on ego and identity; people may b e less likely to try and make light of a situation by responding sarcastically when a sarc astic comment is made about something so personal and emotional as self-present ation and image. However, in item eight, while a significant effect was found, the S1 condition did not differ from the N condition. This conversational exchange was sarcast ic in nature to begin with. In this case, it is impossible to conclude if sartalics neg atively or positively affected the already inherent sarcasm These findings suggest that sartalics may indeed ha ve an effect on a persons inner narration when reading text. We can plausibly introduce the idea that sartalics may heighten the sarcastic valance and intent in a simi lar fashion as verbal cues serve FtF in appropriate situations, even when the reader has no prior knowledge of the fonts intent or purpose. Considering this, it is reasonable to s tipulate that with the assistance of a social media saturation initiative highlighting sar talics purpose (i.e., a viral marketing
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 7 campaign), it appears there is potential for sartal ics to be integrated into the repertoire of communicative tools utilized across CMC platforms. The proliferation of CMC platforms has changed the very face of communication over the past decade, and owing to their convenienc es, text messaging, email, and social media networking are now so ubiquitous in modern cu lture that they are now major forms of communication. Yet instances of miscommunication have plagued CMC since its inception, and users still overestimate their abili ty to convey and perceive sarcastic messages, despite the availability of current cue s ubstitutes (Kruger & Elby, 2004). In some cases, emoticons and ellipses demonstrate the strengthening of valence and intent in messages, but only to a degree (Hancock, 2004); the integration of sartalics appears to be an appropriate step towards minimizing instances of miscommunication between sender and recipient if utilized. The implementation of sa rtalics onto these platforms holds the possibility to help further mitigate the frequency of these instances caused by the absence of verbal and non-verbal cue, leading towards stron ger interpersonal goals in computer mediated communications as postulated by Walther (1 992). Theoretical significance of outcomes The presence of significant findings in thi s study suggest that there may be a property of left leaning italicized text that influ ences inner narration in a manner akin to the subtleties of verbal and non-verbal cues. This observed phenomenon may be attributed to our familiarity with the italic funct ion; that is, where words are stressed for emphasis, and are read so in our inner narration. I t is possible that the left-leaning inversion of the italicization may subconsciously s ignal the inner voice to tonally narrate text different than regular italics; it appears tha t there is something innate about the type-
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 8 face which alters our perception of textual informa tion. A possible explanation for this difference may attribute to sartalics mirrored app earance, perhaps signaling for an inverted response to the culturally ingrained right -facing italics. Limitations This study is the first to empirically investigate type-style and sarcastic intent. While the significant findings are exciting and may help create an empirical framework for future research, the study is met with a number of limitations. First, participants were passive in the conversation; conversations did not occur in real time as they would on a CMC device. Because of this, participants had the a bility to read both statements; this means participants could re-evaluate the original i ntent of the statement before responding to the questions. This kind of social om nipotence does not translate to a real time conversation. If participants are to play an a ctive role in the conversation, thus denying this omnipotence, it is likely that sartali cs would affect interpretation on a lineby-line basis rather than by the conversation in it s entirety. Furthermore, an active conversation with participant response conditions c omposed of pre-determined multiple choice responses or free-response after speaker eva luation would reflect a more realistic environment and potentially increase the external v alidity of the study. More so, conversational remarks were evaluated with a novel exposure to sartalics. The methodology used in the current stud y did not inform participants about the visual appearance or function of sartalics prior to the experimental task. Despite this omission, the study still produced some significant findings supporting the original hypothesis. Although no demographic information was collected pertaining to previous familiarity with sartalics in order to protect the hypothesis, we can assume that
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 2 9 participants did not know about sartalics prior to the experiment. This assumption of novel exposure is based on the arbitrary significan ce of the data. Had participants known or guessed the hypothesis during the experiment, we would expect increased instances of significance as the study progressed. Familiarizing participants with sartalics in a methodologically similar experiment prior to the ta sk would likely result in data supporting the hypothesis. Additionally, all of the hypothetical conversationa l remarks used in this experiment were out of context; the addition of bio graphical information may indeed influence interpretation of intent, such as in scen arios comparing exchanges between casual friends versus those of long-term romantic p artners. Furthermore, three topics were used repeatedly for the hypothetical conversat ional remarks. It is probable that the minute differences dictating remark valence caused confusion and frustration among participants. Such frustrations may provoke partici pants to rush through the response items before thoroughly evaluating each remark. Con sistent with this, response question may have been perceived by some as awkwardly phrase d (e.g., According to speaker 2, should speaker 1 eat more), or biased, (e.g., Do es speaker 1 like the dress). In order to rectify error based on responses, a methodologic al redesign incorporating the original matrix (i.e., two yes-or-no questions evaluating sp eaker 1 and speaker 2 intent, individually) as originally used by Macdonald & Pea rce (1996) would help reconcile such confusion and potential bias by mitigating uni directional question framing. Follow-up study A follow-up study that introduces the function of s artalics to participants prior to the task, expands the topics of the conversational remarks simulates a real conversation
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 3 0 (i.e., with a friend, confederate, or computer), of fers response options based on the experimental condition (i.e., multiple-choice versu s free-response), and uses the original response matrices of McDonald & Pearce (1996) would make the methodology more reflective of how sartalics would actually be used in CMC. Additional longitudinal posttests would present clearer insight to the likeliho od of sartalics catching on; that is, significance should continue to increase the more t hey become acquainted with sartalics. Furthermore, adapting the lexical-decision task fr om Briner, Joss, and Virtue (2011), or reading tasks during an fMRI similar to Uchiyama et al., (2006) could be utilized to examine any underlying right hemispheric activity w hen responding to a type-style on both sarcastic and literal words in an effort to fu rther legitimize (or reject) sartalics effect on cognition. Future Directions The T-mobil Sidekick first debuted in 2002 as a cutting edge cell phone. The Sidekicks design redefined SMS text messaging by t he innovative integration of a full QWERTY keyboard in a mobile phone, now a feature on most modern mobile phones. Perhaps more interesting than the modernization of the mobile phone to the typical consumer, the Sidekick became a popular and useful tool for deaf and mute persons (http://tdiforaccess.org/). The functional capabili ties of the keyboard provided an unprecedented alternative to maintain interpersonal relationships in an efficient and clear manner. Extrapolating beyond the obvious practical applications, sartalics may possibly be beneficial to persons with dementia, schizophren ia, and autism. Research in this field suggests that persons with these conditions are una ble or greatly impaired in their abilities to detect sarcasm, discern emotion, and p ick up on social cues (Sparks et al.,
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 3 1 2010; Kipps et al., 2009; Frith & Happe, 1994). It is an ambitious statement to say that sartalics may serve a similar statement in the purs uit of increasing quality of life, but perhaps not entirely implausible; recent research h as found that there appears to be a significant relationship between non-literal langua ge comprehension and quality of life. Accurate perceptions of sarcasm in realistic social exchanges are associated with high levels of enjoyment of extracurricular activities a nd overall satisfaction in participants diagnosed with schizophrenia (Sparks et al., 2010). In this study, thirty participants diagnosed with s chizophrenia in accordance with the DVSM-IV were recruited from an outpatient cente r for schizophrenia for a study involving social cognition tasks. Additionally, a c ontrol group of 25 participants with no prior history of mental illness were included in th e study. Consisting of 3 measures, participants were evaluated on their ability to dec ode and process facial affect (FEEST), their awareness of social inferences (TASIT), and c ompleted a interview where they selfreported levels of empathy and social functioning. The FEEST portion of the study presented participants with static visual stimuli o f a human face expressing one of six basic human emotions (happy, sad, fear, disgust, su rprise, anger). The TASIT portion comprised of 3 parts and evaluated participants ab ility to perceive various emotions in social situations over a series of video clips of a ctors. In part 1, participants viewed numerous short video clips in which an actor expressed one of six emotions used in the FEEST por tion. During part 2, participants discerned between sincerity, simple sarcasm (opposi te meaning) and paradoxical sarcasm (nonsense) in ambiguous dialogue from conversations observed in a series of vignettes. Part 3 expanded on the premise of part 2, in which participants received background
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 3 2 information on the situations portrayed and was eva luated on their ability to detect deceit (lies) and sarcasm in the conversations. Participan ts then responded to an Interpersonal Reactivity Index, self-reporting measures of perspe ctive, fantasy, empathic concern and personal distress. The experiment was concluded wit h an interview assessing social functioning, with sections addressing work, interpe rsonal relations, satisfaction and engagement and enjoyment of actives. Participants with schizophrenia were signif icantly impaired on the detection of simple and paradoxical sarcasm, and experienced mor e difficulty perceiving sarcastic exchange and deceit compared to the control. Schizo phrenic participants had a significant deficit in their ability to decode negative emotion during the TASIT, but not while decoding positive emotions. Additionally, antipsych otic medication dosage is implicated in the ability to process sarcasm and emotional exp ression. A significant negative association was found during Part 1 and 3 of the TA SIT and FEEST; the higher the dose of antipsychotic medication, the poorer participant s performed on these tasks. Participants scoring high in perception of simple s arcasm also reported lower levels of personal distress and high levels of activity enjoy ment. Participants performed with greater accuracy when evaluating the clips in the T ASIT compared to images in the FEEST. We know that accurate perceptions of sarcasm in rea listic social exchanges are associated with high levels of enjoyment of extracu rricular activities and overall satisfaction in participants diagnosed with schizop hrenia (Sparks et al., 2010). Participants scoring high in perception of simple s arcasm also reported lower levels of personal distress and high levels of activity enjoy ment. However, persons with
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 3 3 schizophrenia are significantly impaired on the det ection of simple and paradoxical sarcasm and in their perception of sarcastic exchan ge, deficient in their ability to decode negative emotions. Furthermore, we know that partic ipants with right prefrontal cortex lesions reported similar cognitive deficits to part icipants with schizophrenia, dementia, and autism. Could a tool like sartalics help improve interperso nal communication practices and facilitate social relationship maintenance in p ersons with these social cognitive deficits? Is it possible that sartalics could help increase the happiness of such persons by facilitating and clarifying non-literal exchanges i n their interpersonal relationships? If taught to someone as a tool with a specific functio n, is it possible to create new ways to understand non-literal language in a different cogn itive aspect while still retaining meaning? Perhaps this is an avenue worth exploring. Conclusion Despite a long history of proposed forms of ironic punctuation and sarcastic typeface, the present study is the first to establish f indings regarding sarcasm and type-face modification intended to facilitate perception of s arcastic intent in text-based communication. While a marked number of methodologi cal errors persist, a variety of solutions have been proposed to strengthen future e xperimental exploration in this field. The finding of statistically significant data in th is preliminary framework calls for a legitimacy to continue researching avenues of CMC f acilitation. As technology unwaveringly propels our culture further into the d igital age, the need for clarity in computer based communications will continue to exis t. There may even be a potential for this linguistic innovation to help improve interper sonal relationships and quality of life in
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 3 4 those afflicted with disorders compromising social function of the brain. Although this disparity between communication in reality and cybe rspace may never be fully resolved, it is through the innovation and application of suc h instruments exemplified by sartalics which will be ultimately be utilized in the elimina tion of the miscommunication gap in the future; for the uncertainty of meaning in compu ter mediated communication needs to (nay, must!) be reduced in order to accomplish our interpersonal goals.
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THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 3 9 Appendix Ex. 1 Ex. 2 Ex. 3 Ex. 4 Ex. 5
THE EFFECTS OF TYPE-FACE ON SARCASM COMPREHENSION 4 0 Ex. 6 Ex. 7 Ex. 8