Chris Blattman

At what age do we learn to be sarcastic?

Apparently, age 9 to 10:

Glenwright and Pexman presented five- to six-year-olds and nine- to ten-year-olds with puppet show scenarios that ended with one of the characters making a critical remark. This remark could be literal, aimed at a person or situation, or it could non-literal, again aimed either at a person (i.e. sarcastic) or situation (i.e. ironic). To illustrate: two puppets are playing on a trampoline, one falls on his face. ‘Great trampoline tricks,’ the other character says, sarcastically. Contrast this with two puppets playing on a saggy trampoline with little bounce. One of them says ‘great trampoline’, an ironic remark.

Research results here.

(Unofficial word has it that a 30-year old Midwesterner was left scratching his head: “But that’s not a good trampoline trick.”)

4 Responses

  1. the research compared five to six year olds to nine to ten year olds. that hardly can be interpreted that we learn to be sarcastic at age nine to ten.

    furthermore, the research is determining whether children can distinguish between irony and sarcasm, and never mentions the act of being sarcastic, as you imply.

    unless this article is an attempt at being ironic or sarcastic, your title and comments are greatly misleading.

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