We’ve long suspected that sarcasm equals a larger than normal intelligence. I mean come on, those snarky comeback don’t write themselves, if you smell what I’m stepping in. Luckily ,Harvard and Columbia Universities have done the legwork for us and conducted a study to verify our expectations.
How The Study Was Conducted
People were divided into three groups. Those that expressed themselves sarcastically, earnestly, and neutrally. Researchers interacted with the different groups requesting creative tasks to be completed. Then judged how the tasks were completed.
The sarcastic group showed “enhanced creativity.” When faced with creative problems, they were able to come up with creative solutions. They were able to think abstractly and to take a different spin.
Drawing Conclusions: Intelligence and Sarcasm
A sarcastic person often is looking outside the box to draw conclusions and express opinions. This is why some believe that intelligence is linked to sarcasm in the first place. If you have to look at things in new ways, then you are more likely to look for new solutions to problems. If you know that you might have a little different way of communicating you may look for social openings to communicate that way. This shows an emotional intelligence as well, if you are able to tone down your replies to better match to the situation you are in.
The Bummer Side: Creating Conflict
If you speak sarcasm to a person that doesn’t communicate that way, you are more likely to create conflict. Even if you speak sarcasm to sarcasm, there could still be a conflict unless a certain trust with that person has been established. That means you may want to make sure that people are on your same page before unloading all your fantastic wit on them. I mean you should really do that anyway. No need to waste your grade “A” material on someone who doesn’t appreciate it.
Sarcasm Requires a Speaker or Listener
Something to keep in mind is that the intelligence is in the speaker and the listener. The speaker does looking outside the box to communicate. The listener has to put together the bread crumbs to see where things are coming from and judge the tone of the conversation. Facial reactions are judged, as well as vocal tones to establish if the person is being genuine. This is why sarcasm is so hard to read through texts (even with emojis) because there is no way to judge the persons intent. Does she really mean that smiley face? Or was she just covering?
A Final Study Takeaway
The study says that the people in the study “demonstrated enhanced creativity following a simulated sarcastic conversation or after recalling a sarcastic exchange.” This means that communications in this way get our creative juices going especially when they are had with people that communicate in the same way.
The important thing to take away from this study is that yes, if you are sarcastic you probably have a large chance of increased intelligence. Sarcasm is not the preferable method for communication in “new friend” situations though. It’s a way to communicate once trust has been established. Unloading the brunt of your sarcasm on someone that is unsuspecting can damage the relationship before it starts.
Please take a look at the following links for additional information:
Lori Chandler gives some hilarious commentary and historical examples of sarcasm. She explores the meaning of the study more indepth. http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/im-so-sorry-my-sarcasm-is-making-me-more-creative
Additionally this link will take you the actual study to draw your own conclusions.
Featured photo credit: Suit and Tie/johnhope14 via flickr.com