[PS-1.76] Task effects in irony processing

Bromberek-Dyzman, K.

Adam Mickiewicz University

Irony processing research offers puzzling results. Irony is shown to be processed both faster and slower than non-irony. Recent research shows that processing patterns might be influenced by the experimental task.

This study investigated whether the conflicting RT patterns reported so far, might be task-related. A full spectrum of verbal irony employed to communicate praise and criticism along with their literal, semantic equivalents were employed. Participants were presented with 48, 3-5-sentence-long-frames, 24 ending in literal statements (12_Literal Praise, 12_Literal Criticism) and 24 ending in ironic statements (12_Ironic Praise, 12_Ironic Criticism).

144 subjects participated in the study. In Experiment 1 (N=79) participants made true/false judgments on the communicative meanings stories conveyed (T/F). In Experiment 2 (N=65) participants judged whether the communicated meaning expressed a positive or negative opinion (EDT).

A 4(Target Sentence Type) x 2(Task) Repeated Measures Anova with TS type as a within-subject variable and Task as a between-subject variable revealed strong task effects (ps < .001), demonstrating two-gradient effects in each task. In T/F task, literal meanings were processed faster than the ironic ones. In EDT task, positive meanings (Literal_Praise, Ironic_Criticism) were processed faster than negative meanings (Literal_Criticism, Ironic_Praise). The study shows that irony processing patterns are task-related.