Date of Award
Master of Science
Dr. Albert Katz
Previous studies have demonstrated that ironic criticism can either dilute or enhance a message and that it may provide a mnemonic advantage. This thesis investigated whether irony dilutes or enhances ironic criticism as a function of contrast or speaker orientation (whether an interpreter concentrates on speaker intention or social impact). Participants were asked to interpret the functions of direct and ironic criticisms in short written scenarios which each described a friendly conversation (study 1) or an argument (study 2) between close, same gender friends. Ratings of ironic criticism were not dependent on either contrast or interpreter orientation, nor was there evidence of a mnemonic advantage for ironic expression. Irony caused criticism to appear more mocking (enhancing the criticism of the message), while simultaneously causing the message to appear more humorous, polite, and less negative than direct expression (diluting negative regard in the message). Theoretical implications are discussed
Boylan, James Gordon, "PRAGMATICS OF IRONIC CRITICISM" (2011). Digitized Theses. 3468.