With a little experiment detailed below, I can show you, without place to doubt that categorically, some people can not understand sarcasm.

Get a bunch of people, tell them that this is the most important social experiment ever conducted, assure them that they won't get hurt (usually). Get as many different backgrounds as you can.

Ask them to read the complete site for the experiment, (take for starts http://www.bonsaikitten.com/, but there are a lot of other alike sites available out there).

Then note their reactions which typically will be some of this list;

  1. The activist kind of people which can't understand sarcasm

    They rage!, get up immediately from the desk, and run to the nearest animal rights protection group.

  2. The lesser activist kind

    They start collecting firms in a petition to shutdown the site. (which, by the way, it's a wonderful way to annoy your nemesis. Just tell the subject that your nemesis is collecting the list of firms, and that she should send every firm she can to your nemesis' email. Or better yet, tell the subject that in fact, is your nemesis the one behind the site).

  3. The breakable heart kind

    They start rocking the chair and crying in front of the monitor. (Don't you feel like a bastard?, You should have told her that this site is only a joke from the beginning!. But that would have put a bias in our survey, so just pass her a tissue, and tell her now.)

  4. The lesser breakable heart kind

    They just say in a very soft and tender voice; "poor kittens".

  5. The I don't get a clue kind

    They don't show any emotion, nor do they tell you of any impression about the site. They may turn to stare at you asking; "Don't you have better sites to view?".

    Is important to note, that they don't show *any* emotions, not even a little smile, which would mark them as _the kind of people who do understand sarcasm a little_ or as _the sicko kind_ (see below.) If they show some amusement, notwithstanding how little is it, you should do further testing on this subject to know if she/he really understands sarcasm (I'm pretty sure that they'll turn out to be the sicko kind.)

  6. The sicko kind

    They say; "Cool man!, I want to make my ex-girlfriend's cat into a rectilinear kitten!. Were do I get the glue and the muscle relaxant?". Furthermore, they seem very disappointed when you tell them that it's only a joke, and that they can't really do this to their pets.

Beware: It's advised that you do not take friends as subjects to the experiment.

Below are my own results for this experiment, don't read them if you are thinking on conducting one yourself, or your results will be biased and worthless;

  1. People smart enough, like real hackers, does always understand sarcasm.
  2. People not smart enough to understand sarcasm, but smart enough to understand the site's topic will gravitate to one of the edges of the previous list (They get very mad at the site, or they get very excited about modifying their pets).
  3. Girls have the tendency to get to the upper side of the list. (I'm not trying to be sexist, these are real scientific results from a smallish but representative sample of mexican population).
  4. Boys have the tendency to get to the bottom of the list.

Please, /msg me any worthy additions to the list, I'm getting a little brain dry...

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.