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Study says being sarcastic can make you more creative

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Oh great, a piece of news that might affect how you socially function as a human being and also boost your career prospects. Just super. How enthralling this must be for you.

Could we BE any more sarcastic?

Very possibly, yes, and if you happen to be fluent in the ancient language of hormonal teenage girls and Chandler Bing yourself, then good news: according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard Business School, it might be making you more creative.

Exploring how sarcasm works in organisations by asking various employees to conduct themselves in a number of simulated conversations in which they were assigned a tone (sarcastic, sincere or neutral), the team found that the experience of sarcasm - both crafting and absorbing it - generates notable cognitive actions.

Despite the negativity brought about by sarcasm in the experiments, some “reported more conflict but also demonstrated enhanced creativity following a simulated sarcastic conversation or after recalling a sarcastic exchange.” 

The team also found that sarcasm from a trusted person (best friend, colleague) upped creativity - but not conflict. So, in short, a smattering of sarcasm can be a good thing, and even help get other people’s creative juices flowing too.

Speaking to the Harvard Gazette, researcher Francesca Gino put it into scientific terms:

“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.”

Be warned: this doesn’t give you licence to go too gung-ho in the workplace – Doctor House barely gets away with it and the man has a PHD.

Read more about the study here

[Images: YouTube]

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