Poster C67, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
ERP Brain Responses to Emoji-Generated Irony
Benjamin Weissman1, Darren Tanner1; 1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The few ERP studies investigating irony processing have found increased P200 and P600 effects to ironic vs. non-ironic utterances (Regel et al. 2011, Spotorno et al. 2013). Entirely distinctly, emoticons have repeatedly been demonstrated to be capable of signaling sarcasm or irony (e.g., Dresner & Herring 2010, Filik et al. 2016). This study bridges these two strands of research and investigates ERP responses to irony-producing emojis, the question being whether or not emoji-generated irony is processed similarly to word-generated irony. Native English-speaking participants read short positively- or negatively-valenced sentences, which were followed by either a congruent, incongruent, or ironic (winky-face) emoji (“You are such a jerk [smile/frown/wink]”); one-third of sentences were followed by comprehension questions. ERPs were time-locked to presentation of the emoji. Preliminary results a clear P200 effect to the ironic emoji. No clear P600 emerged in the grand mean analysis; however, individual differences in question-answering behavior were apparent and associated with differing brain responses to the emoji stimuli. P200 effects were found in all participants, but those who interpreted the ironic sentences non-literally showed an additional P600 effect to the ironic emoji and a small N400 effect to the incongruent emoji. Our study is the first to investigate the neural correlates of how emojis are processed in linguistic contexts, and moreover provides a link between individual differences in interpretation of commonly-used graphical-linguistic pragmatic markers and on-line neural processes.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other