A team of scientists led by Johns Hopkins University researcher Argye Hillis believe to have found the mysterious place where sarcasm dwells deep inside the human brain.
In a study published in the science journal Neurocase, the specialists explain how, having looked at the medical records of 24 individuals, they found evidence that people who suffer damage to the right hemisphere of their brain tend to lose their ability to recognize sarcasm.
Study finds damage to a brain structure dubbed the right sagittal stratum correla
Specifically, the scientists say that the brain area that when harmed correlates with being unable to detect sarcasm is the right sagittal stratum. This brain region appears circled in the image below.
Interestingly, the researchers explain that people who suffer damage to the right sagittal stratum have no trouble hearing or understanding words per se. The one thing they struggle with is sarcastic nuances and facial cues indicating a sarcastic intent.
“Even though they understand the words, there’s often a real failure of communication,” Johns Hopkins University scientist Argye Hillis told Live Science in an interview.
Apparently, it makes sense that damage to the right sagittal stratum can cause people to lose their ability to pick up sarcasm. This is because this region serves to connect other brain areas known to be inv
olved in processing visual and auditory cues, and in decision making processes.