News Release

Building a better sarcasm detector #ASA186

Sarcasm, notoriously difficult to interpret, demystified by multimodal approach

Reports and Proceedings

Acoustical Society of America

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 16, 2024 – Oscar Wilde once said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence. Perhaps that is due to how difficult it is to use and understand. Sarcasm is notoriously tricky to convey through text — even in person, it can be easily misinterpreted. The subtle changes in tone that convey sarcasm often confuse computer algorithms as well, limiting virtual assistants and content analysis tools.

Xiyuan Gao, Shekhar Nayak, and Matt Coler of Speech Technology Lab at the University of Groningen, Campus Fryslân developed a multimodal algorithm for improved sarcasm detection that examines multiple aspects of audio recordings for increased accuracy. Gao will present their work Thursday, May 16, at 10:35 a.m. EDT as part of a joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the Canadian Acoustical Association, running May 13-17 at the Shaw Centre located in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Traditional sarcasm detection algorithms often rely on a single parameter to produce their results, which is the main reason they often fall short. Gao, Nayak, and Coler instead used two complementary approaches — sentiment analysis using text and emotion recognition using audio — for a more complete picture. 

“We extracted acoustic parameters such as pitch, speaking rate, and energy from speech, then used Automatic Speech Recognition to transcribe the speech into text for sentiment analysis,” said Gao. “Next, we assigned emoticons to each speech segment, reflecting its emotional content. By integrating these multimodal cues into a machine learning algorithm, our approach leverages the combined strengths of auditory and textual information along with emoticons for a comprehensive analysis.”

The team is optimistic about the performance of their algorithm, but they are already looking for ways to improve it further.

“There are a range of expressions and gestures people use to highlight sarcastic elements in speech,” said Gao. “These need to be better integrated into our project. In addition, we would like to include more languages and adopt developing sarcasm recognition techniques.”

This approach can be used for more than identifying a dry wit. The researchers highlight that this technique can be widely applied in many fields.

“The development of sarcasm recognition technology can benefit other research domains using sentiment analysis and emotion recognition,” said Gao. “Traditionally, sentiment analysis mainly focuses on text and is developed for applications such as online hate speech detection and customer opinion mining. Emotion recognition based on speech can be applied to AI-assisted health care. Sarcasm recognition technology that applies a multimodal approach is insightful to these research domains.”


----------------------- MORE MEETING INFORMATION -----------------------

Main meeting website:  
Technical program:


In the coming weeks, ASA's Press Room will be updated with newsworthy stories and the press conference schedule at


ASA will also share dozens of lay language papers about topics covered at the conference. Lay language papers are summaries (300-500 words) of presentations written by scientists for a general audience. They will be accompanied by photos, audio, and video. Learn more at


ASA will grant free registration to credentialed and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend the hybrid / in-person meeting or virtual press conferences, contact AIP Media Services at For urgent requests, AIP staff can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.


The Acoustical Society of America is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See


•            fosters communication among people working in all areas of acoustics in Canada 
•            promotes the growth and practical application of knowledge in acoustics 
•            encourages education, research, protection of the environment, and employment in acoustics
•            is an umbrella organization through which general issues in education, employment and research can be addressed at a national and multidisciplinary level

The CAA is a member society of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering (I-INCE) and the International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) and is an affiliate society of the International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration (IIAV). Visit


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.