News

Don’t be sarcastic to over-65s

TELLING Daily Examiner readers there is a university study showing older people find it hard to detect sarcasm provoked a predictable response: most thought it worthwhile and a good example of education spending.

After all, what could be more worthy than studying people who say the opposite of what they mean for comic effect?

The incredibly valuable research from the University of Aberdeen's psychology department tested 116 subjects, showing them videos and written stories.

Initially some readers were angry when they found Australians had been involved in the survey, although this briefly turned to joy when they found the Australians were paid to be actors in the videos.

Study leader Professor Louise Phillips said the subjects viewed videos and written stories and then were asked to explain them.

"For example," the study says, "in one simple sarcasm video, a woman is busily doing a domestic task while a man reads a book and she says (sarcastically): 'Are you busy? I know you've got a lot on'."

Participants were then required to answer yes or no to the questions: Is she trying to pressure him into helping her? Is she trying to say it's OK if he doesn't help? Is she annoyed with him? and so on.

When all the tests were marked, the 36 people who were older than 65 were just as good as the rest at understanding non-sarcastic conversations, but about seven percentage points worse on the sarcastic ones.

"Older adults have problems in decoding different types of sarcasm," the study concluded.

Some thought it was possible older people were ignoring sarcasm as they had graduated to a higher level of wit.

"We respond better to irony and satire these days," one said.

Posts on the university website thought the "unconvincing Aussie actors" and their incomprehensible accent could well have influenced the result.

Kangaroo Creek resident Steve Gonano said sarcasm required practice.

Although in the study's target range, Mr Gonano said he had little difficulty in both detecting and using sarcasm.

"There's plenty to be sarcastic about. Just look at our leaders and the people we vote for," he said.



Drone footage highlights beauty of Yamba

A snapshot of ex-Clarence Valley resident John Hale's drone video of Turners Beach in Yamba.

See the Clarence from a new perspective

Elderly couple killed in horror crash from Waterview Heights

TRAGIC SCENE: Two people have died in a head-on collision between a truck and a car on the Gwydir Highway at Waterview Heights.

Victims identified, but names not yet released

Cabinet slashes proposed backpacker tax 19%

Blueberry farms rely on backpackers to ensure they can harvest their fruit on time. The backpackers tax was a threat to their business.

The Federal Government has good news for blueberry farmers.

Local Partners

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

Kate goes down fighting in heated Survivor elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Kate Campbell.

YOGA teacher's 'good guys' alliance fails to get off the ground.

Emily Blunt's (almost) singing career

Emily Blunt nearly became the British Britney Spears.

Clarence Valley property prices go through the roof

Buyers are hungry to sink their teeth into the Clarence Valley

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

NEW HOME: Agents to the rescue for family of nine

RELIEF: Tanya Cone (middle) with her kids and McKimm's Real Estate property managers Regan Firth and Nadine Greenhalgh who helped find her family a home.

DEX article prompts property managers to help family find new home

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction