Saying what you don’t mean: A cross-cultural study of perceptions of sarcasm.

Dawn G. Blasko, Victoria A. Kazmerski, Shariffah Sheik Dawood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Sarcasm is widely used, but its complexities are not well understood. Sarcastic utterances can have multiple nuanced meanings depending on individual differences of the speaker, listener, and the sociocultural context. The current study examined the views of 344 adults ages 31–55 in the United States, Mexico, and China. We used an online survey to ask participants to self-report how frequently they used sarcasm, under what circumstances, and for what reasons. They also completed the Hofstede Value Survey Module (HVSM) based on Hofstede’s six dimensions of culture: Individualism/Collectivism, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity/Femininity, Long Term Orientation, and Indulgence/Restraint. Respondents from the U.S. and Mexico, countries higher in Individualism and lower in Power Distance, reported more sarcasm use than respondents from China, a country higher in Power Distance and Collectivism. The most common reasons to use sarcasm in all three countries were “to be funny” and “to have fun with friends.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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