University of Tasmania
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The effect of acute alcohol intoxication on the ability to detect sarcasm, and metacognitive judgements of sarcasm detection ability

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posted on 2023-05-26, 05:24 authored by Jason Turner
Acute excessive alcohol-intoxication has been increasingly linked to negative social behaviours such as increased aggression, one punch assaults, and partner-related violence, however the underlying mechanisms underpinning these processes are not yet understood. This study aimed to establish whether alcohol intoxication impairs the ability to detect and differentiate sarcasm, a type of theory of mind concerned with the ability to infer the intentions, beliefs, and perspectives of others. An additional aim of the study was to examine if metacognitive judgements (insight) of sarcasm detection ability is also impaired following alcohol-intoxication. Following quasi-random allocation counterbalancing for gender, 47 participants were administered either an alcohol (Mage = 23.31, SD = 4.33) or placebo (Mage = 22.71, SD = 3.23) beverage. Theory of Mind abilities were assessed using The Awareness of Social Inference Test ‚Äö- Short Version (TASIT-S). Metacognitive performance was measured by obtaining confidence ratings of between zero and 100 percent for each sarcasm detection item. While no overall impairment in sarcasm detection ability was found for alcohol-intoxicated individuals, intoxicated individuals were poorer at comprehending how an actor is feeling when the actor is being sincere and telling lies. Intoxicated individuals also demonstrated impaired insight and over-confidence in metacognitive judgements. These findings provide new insight into the possible underlying mechanisms of acute alcohol-intoxication and negative social behaviours, and have important policy implications.


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Copyright 2017 the author

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