Data from a recent study entitled, The Highest Form of Intelligence: Sarcasm Increases Creativity for Both Expressers and Recipients, suggests that the delivery and deciphering of sarcasm offers psychological benefits that have been largely underappreciated and long overlooked.
“To create or decode sarcasm, both the expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction (i.e., psychological distance) between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking.”
In the study, participants were randomly rotated through simulated conversation tasks that had one of three conditions: neutral (control), sincere, and sarcastic. After each conversation, participants were asked to complete unrelated “creativity” tasks. Those addressing the creativity tasks after sarcastic conditions consistently outperformed those attempting the tasks after sincere or control conditions.
“This suggests that sarcasm has the potential to catalyze creativity in everyone,” Columbia’s Galinsky told the Gazette.
- McMasterElectrical Engineering, 2011
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