The Role of Individual Differences and Situational Factors in Perception of Verbal Irony

Open access

Abstract

A study was conducted to analyze the influence of situational and individual factors on verbal irony perception. Participants (N = 144) rated smartness, criticality, humorousness, and offensiveness of ironic utterances and their literal equivalents. The utterances were put in various contexts, differing in terms of the structure of the interlocutors’ social ranks and the responsibility of the addressee for the described event. Additionally, participants’ state and trait of anxiety were measured using the Polish adaptation of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Wrześniewski, Sosnowski, Jaworowska, & Fecenec, 2011) and their social competences were measured with the Social Competences Questionnaire (Matczak, 2007). Analyses showed that the structure of the interlocutors’ social ranks, the addressee’s responsibility, as well as the state and trait of anxiety can influence the perception of irony, although it does not always concern all of the variables rated herein. No link between social competences and irony perception was found.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Anolli L. Infantino M.G. & Ciceri R. (2001). “You’re a real genius!”: Irony as a miscommunication design. In: L. Anolli R. Ciceri & G. Riva (Eds.) Say not to Say: New Perspectives on Miscommunication (pp. 135–158). Amsterdam: IOS Press.

  • Banasik N. (2013). Non-literal speech comprehension in preschool children – an example from a study on verbal irony. Psychology of Language and Communication17 (3) 309–324.

  • Brown P. & Levinson S.C. (1987). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. New York NY: Cambridge University Press.

  • Clark H. & Gerrig R. (1984). On the pretense theory of irony. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General113 (1) 121–126.

  • Colston H.L. (1997). Salting a wound or sugaring a pill: The pragmatic functions of ironic criticism. Discourse Processes23 (1) 24–53.

  • Colston H.L. & Lee S.Y. (2004). Gender differences in verbal irony use. Metaphor and Symbol19 (4) 289–306.

  • Dews S. Kaplan J. & Winner E. (1995). Why not say it directly? The social functions of irony. Discourse Processes19 (3) 347–367.

  • Dews S. & Winner E. (1995). Muting the meaning: A social function of irony. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity10 (1) 3–19.

  • Gibbs R.W. (1986). On the psycholinguistics of sarcasm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General115 (1) 3–15.

  • Gibbs R.W. (2000). Irony in talk among friends. Metaphor and Symbol15 (1–2) 5–27.

  • Goleman D. (1995). Emotional intelligence (A. Jankowski Trans.). Poznań: Media Rodzina.

  • Grabias S. (1994). Język w zachowaniach społecznych [Language in Social Behaviours]. Lublin: Wydawnictwo UMCS.

  • Grice H.P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In: P. Cole & J.L. Morgan (Eds.) Syntax and Semantics vol. 3: Speech Acts (pp. 41–58). New York NY: Academic Press.

  • Hayes S. & Hirsch C.R. (2007). Information processing biases in generalized anxiety disorder. Psychiatry6 (5) 176–182.

  • Jorgensen J.C. (1996). The functions of sarcastic irony in speech. Journal of Pragmatics26 613–634.

  • Kreuz R.J. & Glucksberg S. (1989). How to be sarcastic: The echoic reminder theory of verbal irony. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General118 (4) 374–386.

  • Kreuz R.J. Long D.L. & Church M.B. (1991). On being ironic: Pragmatic and mnemonic implications. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity6 (3) 149–162.

  • Kreuz R. & Roberts R. (1995). Two cues for verbal irony: Hyperbole and the ironic tone of voice. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity10 (1) 21–31.

  • Kumon-Nakamura S. Glucksberg S. & Brown M. (1995). How about another piece of pie: The allusional pretense theory of discourse irony. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General124 (1) 3–21.

  • Kurcz I. (2005). Psychologia języka i komunikacji [Psychology of Language and Communication]. Warszawa: Scholar.

  • Lampert M. D. & Ervin-Tripp S. M. (2006). Risky laughter: Teasing and self-directed joking among male and female friends. Journal of Pragmatics38 (1) 51–72.

  • Lapp E. (1992). Linguistik der Ironie. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag Tübingen.

  • Matczak A. (2007). Kwestionariusz kompetencji społecznych: Podręcznik [Social Competences Questionnaire: A Textbook]. Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych.

  • Matczak A. & Knopp K.A. (2013). Znaczenie inteligencji emocjonalnej w funkcjonowaniu człowieka [The Meaning of Emotional Intelligence in Human Functioning]. Warszawa: Liberi Libri.

  • Mathews A. & Mackintosh B. (1998). A cognitive model of selective processing in anxiety. Cognitive Therapy and Research22 (6) 539–560.

  • Milanowicz A. (2013). Irony as a means of perception through communication channels. Emotions Attitude and IQ related to irony across gender. Psychology of Language and Communication17 (2) 115–132.

  • Pexman P.M. & Olineck K.M. (2002). Does sarcasm always sting? Investigating the impact of ironic insults and ironic compliments. Discourse Processes33 (3) 199–217.

  • Premack D. & Woodruff G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a “theory of mind”?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences1 (4) 515–526.

  • Recchia H.E. Howe N. Ross H.S. & Alexander S. (2010). Children’s understanding and production of verbal irony in family conversations. British Journal of Developmental Psychology28 (2) 255–274.

  • Roberts R.M. & Kreuz R.J. (1994). Why do people use figurative language? Psychological Science5 (3) 159–163.

  • Schwoebel J. Dews S. Winner E. & Srinivas K. (2000). Obligatory processing of literal meaning of ironic utterances: Further evidence. Metaphor and Symbol15 (1–2) 47–61.

  • Searle J.R. (1979). Literal meaning. In: J. Searle (Ed.) Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts (pp. 117–136). Cambridge MA: Cambridge University Press.

  • Sperber D. & Wilson D. (1981). Irony and the use-mention distinction. In: P. Cole (Ed.) Radical Pragmatics (pp. 295–318). NewYork NY: Academic.

  • Spielberger C.D. (1966). Theory and research on anxiety. In: C.D. Spielberger (Ed.) Anxiety and Behavior (pp. 4–22). New York NY: Academic Press.

  • Sullivan K. Winner E. & Hopfield N. (1995). How children tell a lie from a joke: The role of second-order mental state attributions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology13 (2) 191–204.

  • Tannen D. (1991). Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk among Friends 5th ed. Norwood NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

  • Toplak M. & Katz A.N. (2000). On the uses of sarcastic irony. Journal of Pragmatics32 (10) 1467–1488.

  • Wilson D. & Sperber D. (1992). On verbal irony. Lingua87 53–76.

  • Wrześniewski K. Sosnowski T. Jaworowska A. & Fecenec D. (2011). Inwentarz Stanu i Cechy Lęku STAI. Podręcznik [State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. A Textbook]. 4th ed. Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.29

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.118
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.410

Cited By
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 487 405 25
PDF Downloads 298 255 15