Feeds

Aussie boffins use sarcasm to investigate brain illness

Oh rilly??

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Australian scientists studying illnesses of the brain believe that an inability to detect when someone is being sarcastic is a symptom of dementia.

In a study published today in the periodical Brain, brain brainiacs from New South Wales Uni outline their research.

"Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients present changes in personality and behaviour," lead author John Hodges told AFP.

"They find it difficult to interact with people, they don't pick up on social cues, they lack empathy, they make bad judgements... People with FTD become very gullible and they often part with large amounts of money," he added.

The research involved groups of FTD patients and Alzheimer's sufferers being shown skits played by actors. The same statements would be made deadpan, then again with heavy sarcasm.

The Alzheimer's patients would generally understand the difference, but the change was lost on those afflicted with FTD.

"One of the things about FTD patients is that they don't detect humour... patients with FTD are very literal and they take what is being said as genuine and sincere," said Hodges.

The research is regarded as medically significant because doctors often find it difficult to tell the difference between FTD and other mental illnesses.

The AFP reporters apparently asked Hodges whether the test would still work on "people from countries not renowned for their appreciation of sarcasm or irony".

Apparently he believed the test "could be modified". ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.