New study found that while sarcastic people definitely caused more conflict, they also exhibited greater creativity and intelligence following a sarcastic conversation or remark.
Do you have a biting sense of humor, with a quick, dry response ready at all times? Do you like using irony to convey contempt for something? Then there’s another word to describe you besides sarcastic: intelligent.
sarcastic people can now revel in the fact that a Harvard Business School study claims sarcasm is the “highest form of intelligence.” What they looked at in their study was whether or not sarcasm was a higher form of cognitive functioning. Two of their studies found that, while sarcastic people definitely caused more conflict, they also exhibited greater creativity and intelligence following a sarcastic conversation or remark.
In the third study, researchers found that “sarcasm’s effect on creativity for both parties was mediated by abstract thinking and generalizes across different forms of sarcasm.” In other words, the positive effects of sarcasm are brought about by the increase in abstract thinking, and that was true across the gamut of different types of sarcasm.
According to the fourth and final study, researchers found that sarcasm-related conflict was reduced when there was trust between participants. Basically, sarcasm with your friends and trusted colleagues is ok, but with someone you barely know or a co-worker you don’t get along with it’s probably a bad idea.
Here are 3 characteristics of sarcastic people:
1. Sarcastic people are smart enough not to take everything to heart. This means they don’t burst out into tears when you are teasing each other over being tipsy after a few beers. They can throw the punches as well as take them. You rarely find them playing the victim in the situation, because let’s face it, no one likes a victim.
2. Due to their constant way of communicating, sarcastic people affect the brains of the people around them. There are three stages our brains need to take to understand irony. If you are around them while watching TV, driving, or shopping, then you had to use your brain a little bit more to understand their thought process.
3. Sarcasm is practically the primary language in today’s society. Usually sarcastic people are going to be keeping the conversation going and not be the person awkwardly standing in the back pretending to laugh at everyone else’s jokes.
So what’s the lesson here? Sarcasm can be great tool for creativity, but it’s a double-edged sword. If you’re using sarcasm with someone with whom you have less of a trusted bond, you might end with more of a negative situation than you bargained for.