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Medicine Science

Sarcasm Useful For Detecting Dementia 389

An anonymous reader writes "Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but Australian scientists are using it to diagnose dementia, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of New South Wales, found that patients under the age of 65 suffering from frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common form of dementia, cannot detect when someone is being sarcastic."
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Sarcasm Useful For Detecting Dementia

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  • Re:Sarcasm mark (Score:4, Informative)

    by Andr T. ( 1006215 ) <andretaff@gmai l . c om> on Monday December 15, 2008 @01:47PM (#26121683)

    I have a friend who said once that you can give sexual meaning to any statement as long as you end it with "if you know what I mean". Something like:

    Now I will recompile my kernel, if you know what I mean.

    Maybe people could use a sentence like that to imply sarcasm... maybe 'Obviously'.

    ...if you know what I mean.

  • Sarcasm Lowest Form? (Score:2, Informative)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @01:57PM (#26121819) Journal
    Whoever said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit never lived with my former room-mate. He could hardly ever get a sentence out without some word play mixed in. It was constant pun-ishment.
  • by chubs730 ( 1095151 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @02:34PM (#26122373)
    No, he only wants it to apply in high stress situations.
  • Re:Why so? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Neoprofin ( 871029 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:16PM (#26122895)
    The assumption that the only use of sarcasm is to make others look inferior or express dislike without any actual thought is the exact reason I look on anyone who looks down on it as just as stupid. The language is what it is, you can belittle and hurt just as easily with well formed, detailed criticism, you can be graceful or not. Sarcasm has never been the problem, assholes are the problem, and they were the problem long before they gave sarcasm a bad rap.
  • by Brigadier ( 12956 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:17PM (#26122901)

    sarcasm is cultural.... I grew up in Jamaica, after moving to the US I had a very hard time understanding sarcasm which is very common here. In my experience growing up in Jamaica sarcasm wasn't common at all.

  • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:20PM (#26122941) Homepage


    He was saying (and I fully agree) that puns are a lower (much, IMO) form of humor than sarcasm.

    Actually, what many people refer to as sarcasm is really irony or satire. Sarcasm implies scorn or contempt. It does not imply "saying the opposite of what you mean". That's a particular form of irony. It may be sarcasm if the intent is to wound or disparage, but if it's simply done in good humor, then it's not sarcasm at all.

    Dry irony is actually one of my favorite forms of wit, although I tend to prefer when it's not too sarcastic.

    Of course, we may be witnessing the evolution of language in action here. I'll be fascinated to see what the dictionaries say about sarcasm in another ten or twenty years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:23PM (#26122991)

    Interesting. I had the displeasure of working for a sociopath once, and noted that he was utterly unable to process humor normally. He literally had to look around at others to figure out whether he should be laughing...

  • Re:Sarcasm mark (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zwicky ( 702757 ) on Monday December 15, 2008 @05:06PM (#26124545)

    Sarcasm is mostly down to the tone of voice, which is why the /sarcasm tag is sometimes necessary. That is, unless you are able to word what you are saying to be as unambiguously sarcastic as possible. "That's a workable solution /sarcasm" contrasted with "Yeah. Right. That's gonna work". Get it wrong on Slashdot and you get modded down. ;)

    Speaking of the tone of voice, I have a naturally-sarcastic tone of voice. This makes it sometimes tricky for others to tell whether I'm kidding or not. I remember talking to a professor who found it difficult to catch sarcasm at the best of times. It was a random conversation that cropped up as part of a lecture, in which he said, "but you can't be in two places at once" in an attempt to answer the question. Without thinking much about it I just blurted out, "well, you might not be able to" and I could almost see the cogs turning as he was trying to work it out. My rather stoic expression didn't help much either though. :)

    I'm great at funerals.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27