And here I thought I was just an asshole. Research from Harvard Business school suggests that sarcasm may improve the creativity and cognitive functioning of both the giver and receiver, and their findings were published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. The research found that, while sarcasm could screw you over (so if you don’t think your coworker gets it, you should probably go easy on them), it also stimulates creativity. That’s because sarcasm activates abstract thinking.


If you’ve read any of my other writing, you’ve been stimulating your creativity! Or getting highly offended. Sarcasm isn’t straightforward. It takes a bit of thinking to take what you want to say and then reconstruct it with a specific tone and wording to convey irony and usually humor. Unless you’re just a jerk. And to understand sarcasm you have to dissect the tone and content of what the speaker is saying to understand the underlying message. You’re a sarcasm archeologist, digging through the bullshit to find that little nugget of… is that… sincerity?

The research had three groups, one group simulating sarcasm, one simulating sincerity, and one simulating neutrality. Then, after these groups conversed, they were given tasks to test their creativity where the sarcastic simulation obviously fared the best. Otherwise, you know, the study wouldn’t say that sarcasm stimulates creativity. So next time you think I’m being a jerk, I’m just trying to stimulate my creative juices. It’s for inspiration, really.

New Fall Issue d217c

To sarcasm!

Images via SomeEcards and Amazon


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