For ’90s kids, the patron saint of sarcasm is Daria. She’s a bountiful font of cartoon snark and represents who we all secretly wish we were (hence all our Halloween costumes). We’d present her an award for “Best Sarcasm Role Model,” but she’d probably be all, “gee thanks,” and sneer. While your mom probably got mad at you anytime you tried out Daria’s quips or quirks, it turns out you may be a more creative person for it.
A study conducted by Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School suggests that “general forms of sarcasm promote creativity through abstract thinking for both expressers and recipients.” For the study, groups of participants had conversations with researchers. One group had sarcastic conversations, one had sincere conversations and one was totally neutral. Shocker: The sarcastic group was more equipped to complete creative tasks assigned to them post-convo than any of the other groups.
The study says that the kind of abstract thinking needed to interpret sarcasm can serve as a “catalyst for creativity.” The downside: They also found that in cases where someone received sarcasm from a person they didn’t trust, the conversation often devolved into conflict. No, really?
So here’s the takeaway: No one likes someone who is a wall-to-wall snark machine incapable of having a sincere interaction, or who is acerbic to people they don’t know. That being said, an occasional and well-used snappy answer may just help you unleash some creative juices.
What’s your best snappy answer to a stupid question? Tell us in the comments!