TIL that children don't detect sarcasm till they're about 6 and don't get the humor in it till they're about 10

TIL that children don't detect sarcasm till they're about 6 and don't get the humor in it till th...

The research seems to be a bit deeper than most comments are realizing. It's not that they are "dumb" and don't understand it. They are just not wired to find it funny, they find it mean instead.

“Younger kids think slapstick is funny, and plays on words. But not sarcasm,” says Glenwright, adding that kids often perceive sarcasm to be mean-spirited.

wow, you must've been a really smart kid

I don't think it has anything to do with age. Sarcasm is an aquired taste, I know plenty of adults who don't find it funny

When I was in college I had a lab partner from somewhere I think in the middle East. He couldn't wrap his mind around sarcasm. Half was coming from a background in a second language, it wasn't really fair to say non literal things to him. The other side was that he claimed that people didn't say things like that in the culture he came from. That wasn't a genre of humor present there. He started picking up on it over time and understood what was up. Toward the end of the semester he said something deadpan sarcastic and we were all so used to him being literal, it took us a back for a few seconds then we realized what he did and died laughing

TIL redditors are all 5 years old.

Abstract thinking doesn't develop until about 8yo or so, so this jives.

Sarcasm between strangers almost always comes off mean-spirited or ill intended, but to me, between friends its almost always endearing.

Sarcasm isn't really that funny as an adult. Also puns are not funny either.

Fart jokes ..now that's some funny shit

Ya at the camp I worked at they advised us not to use sarcasm around the kids because of this. Apparently a kid didn't come back because a counselor jokingly said that no one liked him. Imo this kid was extremely well liked and knew he was but didn't understand the sarcasm.

On the other hand kids don't ever learn about sarcasm because they're goats.

I'll have to disagree with you. I am an American currently living and working in Japan with people who speak very little English or any other language besides Japanese. They sincerely have no concept of sarcasm.

I gave my friend who speaks a decent amount of English a crash course on the subject, and only after about an hour of explanation and examples was she able to say to an unsuspecting British friend, "you are SO smart!" And that was immediately after failing her first attempt. First she just straight up told him he was lazy, or something like that. It was adorable and hilarious, but not sarcasm. British friend is a good guy. He was a gracious practice dummy.

I think lying convincingly needs some abstract thinking. My son wasn't a good liar at that age. He thought I had ESP as I could always tell when he was not telling the truth. I never did tell him that he wasn't good at it. Perhaps he got better at it when he got older... or he doesn't try as often... still catch him every once in a while.

You must be fun at parties.

As a sardine, this grinds my gills.

Yeah, you've clearly got a great sense of humor.

Lying starts pretty early though. Lying seems to need some abstract thinking.

classic reddit

"We found this surprising thing about children using the scientific method and rigorous testing and the combined knowledge of our specialized education in the subject matter"


"Nu uh I'm a parent/teacher/babysitter and I have anecdotal proof otherwise"

Somehow the scientific findings don't matter for parental experience. I swear it's like this with anything regarding early childhood biology.

...You...may have come across some weird people...but if you really think that Japanese people don't do sarcasm, you're really wrong.

Now, sarcasm is considered rude much of the time, and in Japanese culture being polite is extremely important. But between friends, family, etc? They're sarcastic all the time.

Every culture has the concept of sarcasm...I think it was probably a difference in body language and verbal cues than not knowing the concept whatsoever.

No, nothing is funny. Nothing is fun. Nothing is happy.

They aren't really good at it, but they do start pretty young. Like a between 2 and 3 they will lie, but they don't take the listener into consideration. It's seems to be a pretty important skill that humans need so I wouldn't be surprised if the brain handled lies and other abstract thoughts differently.

Fuck this made me laugh.

Your wife might just be dumb.

He's just pissy because he still can't detect sarcasm.

Any time I see a thread start to go the way of the pun I immediately abort the thread. I honest to fuck don't know how people find them funny.

How much of this is actually culturally-linked? I don't think all cultures respond, or even use, sarcasm the same way as the core Anglosaxon-descended societies.

This is such bullshit, I've been a sarcastic fuck for a long time.

Certainly found it funny long before the age of 10.

Best observation in here. My French wife doesn't get the simplest of sarcastic remarks, nor does she find them funny; she just takes the statements literally. For a snarky American it's like living with someone with Aspergers.

Strange, French use sarcasm all the fucking time, it's something that actually irritates me when I go back there (moved to Canada years ago).

Are we talking about the same America? I've worked in USA many times and I found sarcasm was only understood about half of the time. (Brit in France )

Most people also don't realize the difference between sardonic and sarcastic. Most people are being sardonic when they're being "sarcastic."

Brit in America--agree, cynicism even less.

A good bad pun can be funny occasionally, but they're really only okay in small doses. I find people who really go out of their way to make bad puns all the time to be very tiring.

It isn't that it's funny, but when they are clever, I appreciate them!

Life is potato

I've raised my boys on sarcasm and my eldest is ahead of the game by a few years. At 7 I would often say that he was hideous and he would make an ugly face with his tongue stuck out. Now at almost nine he says sarcastic stuff all the time to his younger brother who definitely gets that his bro is saying the opposite of what he means. Like almost anything sarcasm just takes some experience to grasp.

This was obvious for other reasons but it's nice to have confirmation.

I love sarcasm and my 8 yr old daughter totally gets it, a good English dry wit needs nurturing from a young age, if she was still struggling with it by now I'd probably disown her.

Farts are sarcasm now? This isn't saying kids don't understand humor until they are 10, it's saying they don't get the humor in sarcasm until they're 10.

It's usually more like...

"There was this scientific thing, and here's a vaguely related sensationalist headline based on not understanding it"

"That headline is so bullshit, anyone can see that's not right."

Very few comments on the article, they comment on the headline.

Every time I've found the actual science behind a bullshit headline, the science made a lot more sense than the headline.

When I was young my mom caught me in a lie and I asked how she knew I was lying. She told me, "we always know when you are, we just don't always bother calling you on it."

To this day I'm a very honest person.

Being sardonic is exclusively negative. Being sarcastic may be negative, but indicates some sort of joking nature in the context. Here's an example I found that states it better:


Sarcastic: Well, this meeting with the boss should be hilarious.

Sardonic: Time for the monthly flogging by a twerp in a suit; I'll try not to get blood on the executive carpet.

I know that many here have cited so many exceptions, but i can see where some are mistaking children parroting statements, overheard jokes and obnoxious sentence inflection in order to get attention or praise for a genuine thought process that forms these amusing or sarcastic utterances.

When I was a child I repeated prayers in church, mimicking the reverence of those around me. That did not mean I was pious, it meant that I had situational awareness and was adapting to my surroundings and expectations so I would not get in trouble.

Thinking that your child is somehow clever because he can mimic a sarcastic tone can be a recipe for raising a bitter asshole.

Might be what the sarcasm was about. Also if it was your sarcasm, and I'm assuming you have a British accent, you might not just have been misunderstood. Basically i can think of tines where someone was being sarcastic but didn't immeadiately react: when dealing with a sarcastic comment from someone with an accent, and when someone who sarcastically said something political but I didn't know him well enough to know his politics.

I only find irony and self-degradation to be funny please help me.


I just farted sarcastically.

Have you ever been tested for a developmental disorder? Failure to understand the intent behind non-literal speech, such as irony or sarcasm, is one of the main symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.

My 6 year old picks up on it and it infuriates her. I try to be funny but I'm just being "annoying dad".

You might be English. The commonly prescribed solution is to drink alcohol until you fall over, which you will also find funny.

This. Children start lying pretty early on after learning to speak the problem is that their lies operate under the impression that everyone has the same information as they do. They can't fathom that mom/dad knows anything more than they themselves know.

I remember seeing a documentary on this. It was hilarious. Seeing kids lying and them their confused faces when mommy/daddy is telling them why they lie is not convincing. I can't remember the name of the show though.

I love shows like that were they explore the growth and development of children. I find them fascinating.

I agree that puns and fart jokes are funny, but sarcasm is also funny.

I imagine the accent probably played a role. I know I've had some trouble picking up on British people's sarcasm before because I would attribute differences in voice inflection to be part of the accent and not idemtify them as audio cues denoting sarcasm.


I agree. My kids learned to be sarcastic and thought it was funny at a young age too, all four of them.

I'm a sassy city kid and I am still taken aback when i go to France by the amount of sass and sarcasm.

La meilleure exemple: Moi: madame, est-ce que vous savez où est le métro près d'ici? Lui: Je ressemble une carte? walks off

Can you give an example? I've lived in Japan for over a decade and personally agree that sarcasm, at least as normally understood by Americans, really doesn't exist over here.