Publication details [#11815]

Calmus, Arnaud and Stephanie Caillies. 2014. Verbal irony processing: How do contrast and humour correlate? International Journal of Psychology 49 (1) : 46–50. 5 pp.
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Although irony lacks detectable semantic criteria (e.g. ‘He is bright’ can be interpreted both as an ironic and literal statement), it is marked by a change in evaluative valence between the ironic utterance and the context. In a similar vein with previous studies (Colston, 2002; Colston and O’Brien, 2000), this piece of research explores the role of the notion of incongruity/contrast in irony processing. Drawing on a comparison between ironic vignettes and their literal counterparts, the subjects judged ironic vignettes to be more contrasting (e.g. “We really took our time getting to know each other. That’s why we decided to separate” vs. “We didn’t really take the time to get to know each other. That’s why we decided to separate”). What is new about this study is that it shows that humor is generated only by moderately contrasting vignettes.