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Psychology of Language and Communication

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Irony as a Means of Perception Through Communication Channels. Emotions, Attitude and IQ Related to Irony Across Gender

Anna Milanowicz
Published Online: 2013-09-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/plc-2013-0008


The paper explores why certain adults are, or at least consider themselves to be, more ironic than others. The study looked at comprehension and application of irony compared to subjective affective evaluation of irony reported by Polish-speaking adults and with relation to nonverbal intelligence measured with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised-Polish versions (WAIS-R(PL), 2004). Fifty-four subjects aged 20-66 years (28 females and 26 males) participated in Study 1 on subjective perception of irony. The comprehension, emotional valence and social functions of ironic meanings as well as the degree to which subjects perceived themselves as ironic were assessed through a self-report questionnaire. Inter-correlations were performed and related to the performance quotient (IQ) which was measured in Study 2, where 45 (24 females and 21 males) out of the 54 participants were tested with performance subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised-Polish versions (WAIS-R(PL), 2004). The nonverbal intelligence scale was administered. Performance on nonverbal intelligence tests is not limited by language abilities and its analysis and can be considered important for future cultural comparative studies. Subjects who perceived themselves as ironic showed a higher nonverbal IQ in comparison to subjects who described themselves as non-ironic or barely ironic. The pragmatic qualities of irony were analyzed for their affective valuation and balanced for gender. Individual differences and gender effects in the perception of the social functions of ironic utterances were found. The paper describes the implicit emotional layer conveyed in irony and its importance in irony processing and comprehension.

Keywords: irony; irony comprehension; emotions; attitude; IQ; gender

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-09-06

Published in Print: 2013-09-01

Citation Information: Psychology of Language and Communication, Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 115–132, ISSN (Print) 1234-2238, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/plc-2013-0008.

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