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ERIC Number: EJ935317
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 36
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 63
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Children and Adults Understand that Verbal Irony Interpretation Depends on Listener Knowledge
Nilsen, Elizabeth S.; Glenwright, Melanie; Huyder, Vanessa
Journal of Cognition and Development, v12 n3 p374-409 2011
Incongruity between a positive statement and a negative context is a cue to verbal irony. Two studies examined whether school-age children and adults recognized that listeners require knowledge of context to detect irony. Specifically, the studies investigated whether participants could inhibit their own context knowledge to appropriately gauge listener interpretation of ironic intent when the listener lacked context knowledge. Adults and older children (8- to 10-year-olds), but not younger children (6- to 7-year-olds), demonstrated this recognition; their responses indicated that listeners would be less likely to interpret statements as ironic when the listeners were ignorant to an incongruent context compared with when they were knowledgeable. Second-order theory-of-mind reasoning was related to the older children's ability to shift their responses regarding listener inferences of ironic statements based on the listeners' knowledge of context. (Contains 1 footnote, 5 tables, and 1 figure.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North America