In an article that utterly fascinated me, Dan Hurley writes for the NY Times about Dr. Katherine P. Rankin’s study wherein an MRI was used to determine where sarcasm resides – not the ability to create it, but the ability to detect and process it.
According to the article, Dr. Rankin is a neuropsychologist and an assistant professor at the Memory and Aging Center in San Francisco. She developed the idea in response to evidence that people with head injuries and those who lose their ability to discern words and their meanings could not correctly interpret sarcasm.
My favorite part of the article:
So is it possible that Jon Stewart, who wields sarcasm like a machete on “The Daily Show,” has an unusually large right parahippocampal gyrus?
“His is probably just normal,” Dr. Rankin said. “The right parahippocampal gyrus is involved in detecting sarcasm, not being sarcastic.”
But, she quickly added, “I bet Jon Stewart has a huge right frontal lobe; that’s where the sense of humor is detected on M.R.I.”
That’s right. Compliment your man – tell him he has a huge right frontal lobe. Rwor.