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  • Are you sarcastic? You must be so smart.

  • Hi smart alecks, Julian here for DNews.

  • My parents always told me when I was a petulant teenager that, "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit."

  • To which I replied, "Yeah whatever," and totally won the argument.

  • Now I’m a petulant adult and I’m happy to report science seems to agree with me.

  • A new study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes examined if there was a link between sarcasm and creativity.

  • Participants were randomly assigned to behave sarcastically, sincerely or neutral.

  • They were then paired with another participant and went through a simulated conversation.

  • In a variation of the experiment, participants were asked to recall an exchange that they had had in their life that was either sarcastic, sincere or neutral.

  • After they had simulated or recalled a conversation, they were given 3 tests to measure their creativity, and another to measure how well they could think abstractly.

  • The researchers found that after a sarcastic conversation, participants were more creative and better at abstract thinking.

  • And it didn’t matter if they were the ones being sarcastic; just being on the receiving end bolstered their cognitive functions.

  • So just hearing sarcasm, makes you more intelligent. Youre welcome.

  • But why would being sarcastic help with anything aside from being the funniest person ever?

  • Co-author of the study, Francesca Gino, explained in an email to the Harvard Gazette that:

  • "To create or decode sarcasm, both the expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction 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."

  • So decoding when someone says, "You look nice today" needs more thought than just hearing "You look nice today!", and it gets your brain in gear.

  • But then another problem arises: it may also make you want to punch that sarcastic jerk in the face.

  • So, how do you get the benefits of being sarcastic while remaining un-face-punched?

  • The researchers looked into that too and discovered that the key is the relationship you have with the other person.

  • If a sarcastic exchange happens between two friends, they know the other is joking and don’t mind.

  • But if a stranger is sarcastic towards another, the recipient isn’t sure if theyre being mocked and so may take offense.

  • So to practice safe sarcasm, the researchers recommend doing it with a friend.

  • To which I say, "Duh."

  • Sarcasm is my second language and comes easily to some, but it actually requires more mental gymnastics than you may have realized.

  • People with some forms of brain damage or autism may have a tough time picking up on it.

  • Anthony explains why, here.

  • Sarcasm is a pretty interesting thing.

  • A popular theory says that we developed it as an emotional tool that helps poke around a conversation and see what the polite boundaries are.

  • Are you usually sarcastic? Let us know, by writing "No?" or "No." in the comments.

  • And if you have any questions you want us to tackle, let us know down there too, or on Facebook, Twitter; we even have a Subreddit, r/DNews that you can reach us at.

  • Subscribe for more and I'll see you next time on DNews.

Are you sarcastic? You must be so smart.

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