Sorry (Not Sorry) If Harvard Says My Sarcasm Means I’m Smarter And More Creative

Good news for those who are known for being a little snarky. Harvard has discovered that the smartest people in the world are those who are sarcastic. So surprising. Those of you smart creative types can join me in waiting for the apology we so rightly deserve.

Harvard Business School researchers studied a number of creative assholes who, many of which could have been hipsters. Bless their hearts.  The study’s authors wrote in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes “the construction and interpretation of sarcasm lead to greater creativity because they activate abstract thinking.”

Dr. Li Huang, assistant professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD business school in France, joined Harvard business administration Professor Francesca Gino in the research project to uncover just how sarcasm makes us all better. She told the Huffington Post

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.

The researchers conducted three different experiments, each asking more than 100 men and women to either express or receive sarcasm or sincerity. That sounds like loads of fun. In another experiment, more than 250 respondents were then asked to think about a person they trust making a sarcastic or sincere comment. Those who took the sarcasm route scored higher on tests for creativity and abstract thinking than those in the control group.

Huang said that they were sooooo surprised sarcasm increases creativity. That’s sarcasm, by the way.

But the fact that it increases creative thinking for the recipients as well was somewhat a surprise. Only after we found out the common mechanism for expressers and recipients, that is abstract thinking, it started to make sense to us.

We’re so abstract in our thinking, apparently, that it makes us think more creatively. So, as you continue on with your lives today, please know that it could be far worse. You could lack the skill and thus the smarts to be sarcastic. Luckily, you can make fun of others without them understanding the joke. Ben Carson and Donald Trump will be excited to hear it.


Feature image via StarMama on Flickr

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