Does the use of sarcasm vary geographically?

College students in New York and Tennessee participated in tasks designed to measure their use of sarcasm. They also provided definitions for the terms irony and sarcasm and completed part of a Sarcasm Self-Report Scale. Northern participants generated more sarcastic completions and chose more direct ironic statements than their Southern counterparts did. Regional differences accounted for a unique amount of variance when other demographic factors were controlled for. Northern and male participants self-reported using sarcasm more than Southern and female participants, respectively. Northern participants defined sarcasm as involving more humor than Southern participants. Correlations of the participants’ use of sarcasm and the self-report measure revealed a moderate degree of metapragmatic awareness. This study is the first to demonstrate regional differences in the use of sarcasm, and possible reasons for these differences are discussed.

Source: “Regional Variation in the Use of Sarcasm” from Journal of Language and Social Psychology

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