Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I really don't have much today. Obama has tied up enough delegates to be the presumptive Democratic nominee, so I guess the big question now is whether he'll pick Hillary Clinton to be his running mate. Whether she becomes Vice President or remains a high profile Senator, I have a feeling that Hillary is going to be pretty active in the upcoming years.

There's an interesting article today in the New York Times about sarcasm, and the way that the brain functions in both producing and detecting sarcasm. It turns out that the abilities to employ and recognize sarcasm require some higher level functioning in terms of understanding what other people are likely to be thinking in a given situation. Sarcasm is dependent upon social cognition, which includes the ability to pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues regarding another person's mental state as well as an ability to draw inferences about how they will likely respond to a given situation. People with brain injuries or degenerative brain diseases that effect social cognition (including frontotempal dementia and semantic dementia) will often lose their ability to recognize sarcasm as one of the early indicators of impaired functioning. People with mild to moderate cases of Alzheimer's, however, seem to retain their ability to recognize sarcasm fairly well.
The studies discussed in the article seem to indicate that while the left half of the brain is chiefly involved with many of the processes that constitute language, the right half of the brain apparently helps to process some of the "non-literal" interpretations of language that help process functions such as sarcasm (as well as puns, jokes, etc.).
Anyway, I found the article interesting. I'm sure that each of you did as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you, i did find the article interesting. :]

something else randomly interesting that i learned this week (for which i can't quote the source): if all insects disappeared, the earth would be barren in 50 years. if humans disappeared, all other life forms on the planet would flourish within 50 years.

(think about it next time you kill an ant, roach, or wasp.)