If you’re regularly told to pipe down by co-workers for your sardonic sense of humour then there’s some good news, you could be more creative than them.
A new study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes has found that sarcasm can actually make you a more creative thinker.
Researchers at Harvard, Columbia, and the European business school INSEAD manipulated sarcasm in a lab by having participants simulate conversations.
As part of the experiment subjects had to say something sarcastic or sincere, hear a comment that was sarcastic or sincere, or have a neutral conversation.
Then participants had to remember a time when they said or heard something sarcastic, sincere, or neutral. Finally they had to imagine a sarcastic, sincere, or neutral punchline to a joke.
Following all of that they all completed creativity tasks, and (lo-and-behold) the people in the sarcastic conditions all smashed it compared to the other.
According to the findings, sarcasm sparks creativity as you have to think abstractly, figuring out the distance between the literal and figurative meaning of what you’re saying.
It’s the same for being on the receiving end of someone being sarcy too – this only applied if you’re in a trusting relationship with the person you’re talking to, though.
If you’re not then sarcasm will more likely create conflict, as it’s harder to know the tone of a conversation when you don’t know a person well. No shit.
This might sound great, but if you are naturally sarcastic then you might want to avoid heading to North Korea any time soon, as one of the great pillars of the free and democratic world, Kim-Jung Un isn’t a fan.
Sarcasm, crucifixes, TV and radio sets that can receive anything other than government frequencies, and the internet are all banned in the country. So if you’re a sarcastic goth who loves listening to the radio whilst you shop online, then definitely don’t head there.
Sarcastic phrases that have been banned under the totalitarian regime there include: “This is all America’s fault,” and: “A fool who cannot see the outside world,” when referring to Kim.