"The highest form of intelligence."
The study, titledThe Highest Form of Intelligence: Sarcasm Increases Creativity Through Abstract Thinking for Both Expressers and Recipients, was conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard, Columbia, and Insead. The team tested the effects of sarcasm by having volunteers engage in a sincere, a sarcastic, or a neutral (control) exchange before completing a task designed to assess their creativity.
What did the researchers find? Sarcasm, it turns out, is a pretty good mental workout. "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," Harvard's Francesca Gino, who participated in the study, explained in the Harvard Gazette.
The result was "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," Adam Galinsky, another member of the research team, added. In short, sarcastic comments make your whole team more creative, so go ahead and let fly with the occasional snide-but-hilarious comment. Thanks, science!
Via Gust MEES