Delivering sarcasm? Which ear to use?

Q. If you’re going to make a sarcastic remark to someone, which of their ears should be targeted to elicit the swiftest response?

gibson-lindziAs a result of a recent experimental study, a research team from the Department of Psychology, Washburn University, US, the Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, US, and the Department of Psychology, University of New Brunswick, Canada, are in a position to reveal an answer :

“[…] 48 participants completed a target detection task using dichotically presented phrases that were sincere (message compatible), sarcastic (conflicting semantic and prosodic message), or neutral (no emotional prosody). Sarcastic phrases presented to the left ear (LE)/RH produced faster response times than sarcastic phrases presented to the right ear/left hemisphere.“

The team’s paper is scheduled for publication in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition. See: ‘Detection of sarcastic speech: The role of the right hemisphere in ambiguity resolution’.

The photo: shows lead author, Professor Linzi Gibson, at Washburn University.

Also see: Laterality in Canine Cradling