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Didattica integrativa (opzionale) per il corso A della Prof.ssa Bambini, "Issues in neurolinguistics and neuropragmatics"

The neuropragmatics of humor and irony a.y. 2021/22


This course will focus on two instances of non-literal language, namely, humor and irony, with a neuropragmatics perspective. Although related to some extent (see Attardo, 2002), these phenomena are described in different ways on the basis of different distinct theoretical standpoints (Attardo, 1994 and Yus, 2016). 
After a presentation of key definitions and accounts, the course will present several studies that investigated the processing of humor and irony within the boundaries of neuropragmatics (see, for instance, Canal et al., 2019 and Spotorno et al., 2012). In presenting works on the neural response to humor and irony, the course will also offer an overview of the electrophysiological indexes of comprehension (i.e., N400/LAN and P600) and the activation of different brain areas (e.g., frontal and temporo-parietal regions) associated with each phenomenon, as well as the distinct pattern of neural underpinnings of jokes and ironic utterances. The processing of humor and irony will be also discussed in light of recent evidence describing the role of individual differences, such as Theory of Mind skills. 


November 9th, 2021, h. 14:00-16:30  TBC
November 17th, 2021, h. 14:00-16:30  TBC
November 24th, 2021, h. 14:00-17:00


  • Attardo, S. (1994). Linguistic theories of humor. Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Attardo, S. (2002). Humor and irony in interaction: From mode adoption to failure of detection. In L. Anolli, R. Ciceri, & G. Riva (Eds.), Say not to say: New perspectives on miscommunication (pp. 159–179). IOS Press.
  • Canal P., Bischetti L., Di Paola S., Bertini C., Ricci I., & Bambini V. (2019). “Honey, shall I change the baby? - Well done, choose another one”: ERP and time-frequency correlates of humor processing. Brain and Cognition, 132, 41-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2019.02.001. 
  • Spotorno N., Koun E., Prado J., Van Der Henst J.B., Noveck I.A. (2012). Neural evidence that utterance-processing entails mentalizing: the case of irony. Neuroimage, 63(1), 25-39. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.06.046
  • Yus, Francisco (2016). Humour and Relevance. John Benjamins.


The evaluation will be based on classroom activities and active participation.

Credit: 1

Luca Bischetti


Ciclo : XXXVII

Tipologia corso : Tipo a

Periodo: Semestre I

Anno accademico: 2021-2022

Luogo : Iuss, aula 1-16

Durata : 8 ore