The role of visual cues in detecting irony

  • Beatrice Giustolisi
  • Francesca Panzeri


We present four studies that aimed at investigating the contribution of purely visual cues for the detection of irony. In Study 1-3, we presented, without any preceding context, remarks (criticisms and compliments) uttered with sincere and with ironic intent, in three modalities: in the V modality participants could read the comment and see speakers’ facial expressions and bodily movements; in the A modality they could only hear the audio tracks of the uttered sentences; in the VA modality, both visual and auditory information were present. We found that purely visual cues were sufficient to discriminate the ironic intent of the speakers. In Study 4 we presented comments in the V modality, without showing the content of the remark: Accuracy in the detection of sarcasm dropped. We discuss that irony in Study 1-3 might have been recognized indirectly, by comparing the polarity of the remark with the polarity of the actors’ attitude, and we interpret Study 4 data as casting some doubts on the idea that there exist visual cues that specifically convey the speaker’s ironic intent.
How to Cite
Giustolisi, B., & Panzeri, F. (2021). The role of visual cues in detecting irony. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 25, 292-306.