NY Times: Sarcasm and Your Brain

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.



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  1. 1
    amy lane says:

    Oh yeah… THAT’ll get me laid!

  2. 2
    Kalen Hughes says:


    My godmother’s son is autistic and I clearly remember the day he first “got” sarcasm (he was 21). He’d asked what was for dinner and his stepfather replied “Tomatoes” (which Jeff hates). You could see the dismay wash over his face, and then his eyes lit up and he laughed and asked what was really for dinner. It was great. A whole new world of humor suddenly opened up for him.

  3. 3
    orangehands says:

    ooo, a new pick up line

  4. 4
    Eunice says:

    ::in bar::

    Hi. I’ve been watching you all night, and, I gotta say, *seductive whisper* you have the sexiest right frontal lobe. *eyebrow wiggle*

  5. 5
    spedlaw2 says:


    I just voted for this blog for Bloggers Choice awards.

    Could you return the favor at




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