Need to get the creative juices flowing? Try a dose of sarcasm.
See, mom? Being sarcastic is good for you!
Did you ever watch "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"? I recently needed a nostalgia fix, so I re-watched the series. And I realized I had a new favorite character: the totally underrated Geoffrey Butler. Sure, he works for the Banks family, but he does not hesitate to talk back.
I think a big part of why he gets away with it is because, well, (a) he's hilarious, and (b) he uses sarcasm.
Sarcasm gets a bad rap. It isn't hard to find people who are all about disparaging my most beloved form of communication.
Oscar Wilde is known for saying that "sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." One of the most popular quotes about sarcasm on Goodreads is by author Cassandra Clare in her novel "City of Bones": "Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt."
Not so fast, Oscar!
Fellow sarcasm enthusiasts rejoice because it turns out that sarcasm can be good for you ... AND the people around you.
YUP. A recent study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that sarcasm helps boost creativity.
In three separate experiments, they had people in two groups: The people who said something either sarcastic or sincere and the people who listened to them.
In every case, the people who said, heard, or thought of sarcasm performed better in creativity tests.
Apparently, the benefits of sarcasm come from the structure of the sass: The process of creating and interpreting sarcasm makes your brain do awesome things.
In the study, they found that sarcasm encourages abstract thinking, which in turn gets the creative juices flowing. In an interview with The Huffington Post, co-author of the study Li Huang, Ph.D., explained:
"Both constructing and decoding sarcasm requires overcoming the psychological distance between two opposite meanings -- what's said and what's intended. Traversing psychological distance often triggers abstract thinking, a cognitive process responsible for creative thinking. As a result, sarcasm can fuel creativity for both the expresser and recipient."
See? Sarcasm can be a really great brain exercise!
So the next time someone someone tells you to stop with the sarcasm, you can let them know it's not just for your benefit — it's also for theirs. Who can argue with that?