Um, DUH: Sarcasm Is Good For You, Says Science

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A Harvard study found that sarcasm actually makes you more prone to creativity.

Groucho Marx once said, "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." Sarcasm was a big part of Groucho's humor.

The definition of sarcasm: A form of humor that is marked by mocking with irony, sometimes conveyed in speech with vocal over-emphasis. Insincerely saying something which is the opposite of one's intended meaning, other to emphasize how unbelievable, or unlikely it sounds if taken literally, thereby illustrating the obvious nature of one's intended meaning.

Some people say sarcasm is the lowest form of humor or is hostility disguised as humor.

But in a new study entitled "The Highest Form of Intelligence: Sarcasm Increases Creativity for Both Expressers and Recipients" suggests that the process needed with initiating and delivering a sarcastic comment may improve the creativity and cognitive functioning of both the commenter and recipient.

The study was published by Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, and INSEAD, and was comprised of four different experiments

Participants were divided into groups: expressing-sarcasm, receiving sarcasm, expressing-sincerity, and a control group that was neither sarcastic nor sincere, and then rotated through simulated conversation tasks.

After each conversation, participants were asked to complete unrelated creativity tasks. Those who did the creativity talks after sarcastic conditions consistently did better than those who attempted the tasks after sincere or controlled conditions.

"This suggests that sarcasm has the potential to catalyze creativity in everyone," said Columbia's Adam Galinsky in an interview with The Gazette

"That being said, although not the focus of our research, it is possible that naturally creative people are also more likely to use sarcasm, making it an outcome instead of a cause in this relationship."

It makes sense. Saying one thing, but deliberately meaning the opposite, takes smarts, and it also takes intelligence to be able to see the humor when someone is sarcastic with you.

Sarcasm is a communication style that can certainly be taken the wrong way, and it become tedious if the sarcastic person is relentlessly negative.

"While most previous research seems to suggest that sarcasm is detrimental to effective communication because it is perceived to be more contemptuous than sincerity, we found that, unlike sarcasm between parties who distrust each other, sarcasm between individuals who share a trusting relationship does not generate more contempt than sincerity, " said Galinsky. 

If you speak the language of sarcasm, you just need to be sure that the person you're being sarcastic with is on the same page as you. They'll definitely take what you're saying personally.

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