Some people think sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.
We're glad to see they're not letting their education get in the way of their own ignorance.
We're busy. We'll ignore them some other time.
What they're lacking in intelligence, they more than make up for in stupidity.
Get our drift?
Go ahead and be as sarcastic as you'd like. A new study from researchers from several business schools including Harvard and Columbia suggests that both delivering and receiving a sarcastic remark can make you both brighter and more creative. The findings were published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
Research participants were randomly assigned to conditions that were labeled as sarcastic, sincere or neutral. They had a conversation in which they expressed something sarcastic or sincere, then received a sarcastic or sincere reply, or they had a completely neutral exchange. Immediately after the conversation, they performed a task that tested creativity.
“Those in the sarcasm conditions subsequently performed better on creativity tasks than those in the sincere conditions or the control condition. This suggests that sarcasm has the potential to catalyze creativity in everyone,” said study co-author Adam Galinsky of Columbia Business School.
Galinsky points out that naturally creative people are more likely to use sarcasm, possibly making it the outcome and not the cause of this creativity-sarcasm relationship.
The researchers point out that using sarcasm is not without risk, of course. It can easily be misunderstood and lead to hurt feelings and bitterness. But the benefits happen when there's a trusting relationship because neither person will be likely to take any nasty comments literally.
“While most previous research seems to suggest that sarcasm is detrimental to effective communication because it is perceived to be more contemptuous than sincerity, we found that, unlike sarcasm between parties who distrust each other, sarcasm between individuals who share a trusting relationship does not generate more contempt than sincerity,” said Galinsky.
The researchers hope the results will encourage people to take a renewed look at sarcasm. It may make people realize that some sarcastic communication in the workplace, for example, may make for a more creative environment.
To encourage workplace sarcasm, we leave you with these office gems:
Here's a solution for that expired yogurt. (Photo: Passive-Aggressive Notes/Facebook)
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