The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health may not be where you get your news but a study found there was picked up by several mainstream media outlets that you might actually read sometimes – assuming that you still know how to read.
Where is my online sarcasm coming from? Well, according to that study, our sarcasm center is in the white matter of our brains.
“White matter,” you ask , “I thought our brains are gray matter?”
They studies patients who had suffered white matter damage after a stroke. People who had damage to the sagittal stratum in the right hemisphere performed worse on a test in which they had to decide whether statements like “This looks like a safe boat!” were sincere or sarcastic, based on the tone of voice.
Aha! That’s where the sarcasm is centered. Well, sort of.
It’s not so much a center because white matter is a nerve bundle that relays information between areas of grey matter where the real processing gets done. In this case, it connects the thalamus and the cerebral cortex.
Somewhere in that cortex is where we detect and understand that something said to us is meant as sarcasm. It’s tough. Without the audio cues from the tone of your voice, it’s hard to detect sarcasm.
I’m sure you understand this concept. Yeah, right.