Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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. You’re 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 they’re 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.