Sarcasm is often dismissed by those with no sense of humour as the lowest form of wit. However, it turns out that being a regular Chandler Bing actually means you are generally smarter than most, and you’re a more creative soul.
A study just published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes studied 300 people by observing their sarcasm levels during a series of experiments. Before completing tasks, such as securing a candle to the wall with just a box of matches and some nails while not dripping wax on the floor, researchers noted which participants made sarcastic comments. Those who approached their mission with a degree of side-eye tended to be better at finding solutions, with a pretty good completion rate of 64%. And if you heard a sarcastic comment, that only spurred you to better, with 75% of people subjected to ironic comments managing to overcome mini-Herculean tasks. See – sometimes slagging is healthy.
The study, which combined research from Harvard and Columbia University, says that the reason sarcasm has such a bountiful effect is because it prompts abstract thinking, which in turn leads to new and better ideas. “We found that sarcasm may stimulate creativity, the generation of ideas, insights, or problem solutions that are novel and useful. As Oscar Wilde believed, sarcasm may represent a lower form of wit, but we found that it certainly catalyses a higher form of thought,” said Dr Li Huang, who headed up the research.
So go forth! And be a little bit bold, you might just help someone with that sharp tongue of yours.